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THE GLORY OF THE GODDESS 



devi mahatmyam 

durga saptasati • candi path 




THIRUGNANAM 



foreword 



3$ 

sarva mahgala mahgalye sive sarvartha sadhike | 
saranya tryambake gauri narayani namo'stu te 

This dedication has been undertaken as an offering to the 
lotus feet of Adi Parashakti, the Supreme Being and Divine 
Mother. 

The aim is to share the sacred Durga SaptasatTfDurga's 
700"), which is also known as the Devi Mahatmyam ("The 
Greatness of the Goddess") and the CandT Patha ("CandT's 
Text") through the use of romanized Sanskrit with Devi 
devotees, who may not be proficient in Sanskrit. 



The I AST transliteration adopted here is relatively easy to 
master, especially when simultaneously listened with the Devi 
Mahatmyam audio recitation. 

Special thanks and acknowledgement to Dr. Satya Prakash 
Choudary for his comprehensive and enlightening article; 
"The Glory of the Goddess-Devi Mahatmyam". 

Special thanks and acknowledgement to Ajit Krishnan, 
Mahadeva S Sarma, PVR Narasimha and Rajarshi Nandy. 
Their invaluable commentaries sourced from various 
discussion forums have been incorporated in the notes. 

Please read the pronunciation guide section first, to 
familiarise with the basic nuances of Sanskrit vocal sounds. 

Some key transliteration characters have been color coded 
and also long words have breaks indicated to assist 
pronunciation. 

Audio clips (available only with iBook applications) are also 
included for selected sections to help with vedic 
pronunciation. 

Please visit the link below for DevT Mahatmyam audio files, 
commentaries, translations and other related resources: 

B www.facebook.com/devi.mahatmyam 
kjJ devimahatmyam@me.com 



DEVI MAHATMYA 



paramasakti 



^TR": STfct *T£lt feRTT: TO: FT cfFT || 

The Vedas say that Adi Shakti extends in all and contains all, 
and She gives birth to the gods and the goddess. Whatever 
the god one worships, one worships only the Shakti. 

The Divine Mother Parashakti is the Eternal Infinite 
Consciousness, who created and manifested as the universe. 
All the gods and goddesses are her manifestations. 

The DevT Mahatmyam, like the Vedas, is not originated by 
man. It has no beginning. This scripture can claim to be the 
repository of mantras. 



The DevT Mahatmyam scripture constitutes chapters 81-93 of 
the Markandeya Purana. It is basically in a form of dialogue 
between Markandeya and Kroshtuki. 

The episodes revealed in DevT Mahatmyam have a deeper 
inner meaning and metaphorical significance. The esoteric 
meaning of the battle between the gods and the demons 
signifies the perceptual conflict between righteous and 
unrighteous urges; the opposing psychic forces within all of 
us. 

Readers are encouraged to read the many available 
commentaries on SaptasatTto understand its highly esoteric 
significance. The Guptavati by Sri Bhaskaraya is highly 
recommended. 



DEVr MAHATMYA 



phalasruti 



sa yacita ca vijnanam tusta rddhim prayacchati 
DM 12:37 

If pleased, she confers both earthly prosperity as well as 
Wisdom. 



The DevT Mahatmyam has the ability to grant the fruits as per 
the individual aspirations. One who does sadhana with a 
specific desire in mind achieves whatever he aspires for, 
while one who does sadhana without any expectation or 
desire, achieves final liberation. 

In the final chapter, it is revealed that the king Suratha was 
bestowed with prosperity whereas the merchant Samadhi 
was conferred with divine knowledge; all according to their 
individual aspirations. 

Matsya Purana prescribes recitation of DevT Mahatmyam 
three times for cure of physical ailments, five times for relief 
from malefic planets; seven times for relief from impending 
disaster; nine times for ensuring peace; eleven times for 
winning royal favours; twelve times for overpowering foes; 
twenty five times for release from prison; thirty times for cure 
from cancer; a hundred times for relief from great dishonour; 
one thousand times to mitigate loss of wealth and for steady 
prosperity etc. 



3 



DEVI MAHATMYA 



Kali, Lakshmi and Sarasvati 



Kali is one personality of the multiform personality that is 
Adya. Adya, the original shakti, the foundation of everything, 
projected from the Absolute, and owes Her very existence to 
that Absolute. No matter how extensive Her manifestation 
may becomes She continually craves reunion with the 
Absolute, and when she merges again with the Absolute the 
universe dissolves. Adya, Ma, Great Goddess: call Her what 
you will, She is Nature itself, the Creator, Preserver and 
Destroyer of the universes. 

The job of Nature (in Sanskrit, prakriti) is to give form and 
limits to consciousness, to finitize awareness. In the human 
context prakriti represents your 'first action' (pra+ kriti), the 
choice of action which you naturally, instinctively make when 
you are confronted by some need to act. This innate 'nature,' 
which is inborn in each of us, present in our genetic material, 
controls how we experience the world. Until you have 
conquered this innate nature, you will have to experience its 



many limitations. In Sanskrit we say, svabhavo vijayati iti 
shauryam-'the true heroism is to conquer your own nature.' 



Only the 'nature' of Adya Herself (which is Nature itself) is 
unlimited; everyone else's 'nature' (and experience) is limited. 
Though it is almost unlimited (and is almost infinitely less 
limited than is any human's nature) Kali's 'nature' is 
predominantly restricted to death and transformation. Kali 
therefore often appears as one of a triumvirate of goddesses 
who divide among themselves all substance and action in the 
cosmos. Kali's companions in this group are Lakshmi, 
goddess of wealth and prosperity, and Sarasvati, goddess of 
knowledge. 

Lakshmi, who is the embodiment of Maya Shakti, represents 
the projection of shakti into the adhibhautika, the physical, 
external world. Sarasvati 's shakti, which encourages the 
progressive transformation of Maya into Chit, manifests in 
the adhyatmika, the spiritual, which is subtle, ethereal. Kali 
exists in the astral world, theadhidaivika realm of 
impressions, perceptions and images that exists where Chit 
Shakti sports between the physical and spiritual spheres. 

courtesy of Robert E. Svoboda (When Kali Comes to Call) 



4 



DEVr MAHATMYA 

recitation methods 



Charitras 



1 . Prathama charitra 

Chapter 1 - attributed to Maha KafT 

2. Madhyama charitra 

Chapters 2, 3, 4 - attributed to Maha Lakshmi 



3. Uttara charitra 

Chapters 5 to 13 - attributed to Maha Sarasvati 



The recitation of Devi Mahatmyam's 13 chapters can be done in 
several ways: 



1 . All 13 chapters continuously in one sitting 

2. In a span of 3 days 

Day 1 Prathama charitra (chapter 1) 

Day 2 Madhyama charitra (chapters 2, 3, 4) 

Day 3 Uttara charitra (chapters 5 to 1 3) 

3. In a span of 9 days 

One reading of the text in 3 days as above, followed by 2 more 
repetitions in the next 6 days thus completing 3 readings of the text 
9 days 

4. In a span of 7 days 

Day 1 - Chapter 1 

Day 2 - Chapters 2 & 3 

Day 3 - Chapter 4 

Day 4 - Chapters 5, 6, 7 & 8 

Day 5 - Chapters 9 & 1 

Day 6 - Chapter 1 1 

Day 7 - Chapters 12 & 13 

5. If there is no time to read all 13 chapters, at least the Madhyama 
Charitra (chapters 2, 3, 4) can be recited. 



Those who cannot do regular parayana can recite Devi Mahatmyam at 
least on selected auspicious weekdays, lunar days or Navaratri nights. 

Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are considered auspicious for 
reciting the Devi Mahatmyam. 

8th, 9th and 14th lunar days (Ashtami, Navami and Chaturdasi) are 
considered auspicious. 

The 9 days of Sharad Navaratri and Vasanta Navaratri are extremely 
auspicious times of the year for Devi Mahatmyam. 



DEVr MAHATMYA 



recitation order 



The order of recitation may be different among various traditions. One 
method uses the following order: 



1. 


sapoddhara and utkilana 


2. 


kavacham 


3. 


argala stotra 


4. 


knakam 


5. 


navakshari japam 


6. 


vedoktamratri suktam 


7. 


devl mahatmyam 


8. 


navaksari japam 


9. 


rgvedoktam devl suktam 


10. 


kuhjika stotram 


11. 


ksama prarthana 



The devi suktam and ratri suktam also have alternate tantric/pauranic 
versions apart from the Vedic suktas. 



vii 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 

preliminary 
slokas 



Section i 



Overview 



Kavacha, Argala and Keelakam 

The three - Kavacha, Argala and Keelakam are considered integral part of the 
Chandipaath. This is because the sadhana is designed along the guidelines of ShaktA 
tradition. 

The core 700 verses of the main text can awaken Shakti in a very furious and volatile 
manner which can be too overwhelming or at times dangerous or raw for a seeker to 
handle. 

Hence the need for Kavacha - in order to protect against any disturbance. Another thing 
that every sincere seeker will face are interaction with various forces whose only aim of 
existence - their own peculiar dharma - is to break the sadhana at any cost. They can use 
weaknesses within and without the seeker to serve their own ends. 

Then the Argala - bolt - asking for a particular form of intervention of that Shakti in the 
seeker's life. Remember that our scriptures talk not only of Moksha but also Dharma, 
Artha and Kama. The untempered Shakti of the Chandipaath can be too daunting unless 
one has gone beyond ALL desires. But since most are yet to reach that stage, hence the 
Argala is a process of asking that Powerful and Divine Shakti to work in a specific manner 
to help the seeker. Shakti - uncontrolled - is like a sword that can cut through anything 
and everything, good or bad. Dharma/adharma makes little difference. Hence the best 
Shaktiman is one who is in perfect detachment, at all times, unwavering steadiness of 
mind and chitta. 

Then comes the Keelakam. This is a crucial part of the Tantric process. The seeker is 
trying to fix the energy of the mantras into a specific areas instead of letting it scatter. 
All these are necessary at the initial stages of awakening Shakti. Unless the Shakti is tied 
to a place, it will take a huge amount of time to build up to a reasonable strength. So that 
is why these three were/are considered crucial part of the Chandipaath. 



Rajarshi Nandi 



Section 2 



sapoddhara & utkilana 



SAPODDHARA & UTKTLANA 



mantra to obtain emancipation from all adverse restraints and to obtain key 
to unlock saptasati 



sapoddhara mantra 

(repeat mantra 7 times) 

orp hrTrp kllrp srlrp kram krlm canDika devyai sapana.sanugraham kuru 
kuru svaha 



utkilana mantra 

(repeat mantra 21 times) 

orp srlrp kllrp hrTrp saptasati canDike utkllanarp kuru kuru svaha 



10 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



devi kavacam 



KAVACAM 



The kavacam, is a prayer acting as an armor effectuating the Divine 
protection. The kavacam is also used to guard and protect the body and 
ward off illness. 

The body of the sadhaka, is the receptacle for the play of the Divine. It has to 
be made strong to resist the onslaughts of the forces that stand in the way of 
spiritual progress. 



orn asya sn candTkavacasya brahma rsih anustup andah camunDa 
devata ahganya sokta mataro bljam digbandha devatas tattvam srl 
jagadamba prTtyarthe saptasatT pathangat vena jape viniyogah | 

orn namascandikayai 

markanDeya uvaca 

orn yadguhyarn paramam loke sarva raksa karam nmam | 
yanna kasya cidakhyatam tanme bruhi pitamaha || 1 || 

brahmovaca 

asti g yatamam vipra sarva bhutopakarakam | 
devyastu kavacam punyam tacchmusva mahamune || 2 || 

prathamam sailaputrlca dvitlyam brahmacarinT | 
trtlyam candra ghanteti kusmandeti caturthakam || 3 || 

pancamarn skandamateti sastharn katyayanlti ca | 
saptamarn kalaratrlti mahagaurlti castamam || 4 || 

navamarp siddhidatrlca navadurgah praklrtitah | 
uktanyetani namani brahmanaiva mahatmana || 5 || 

agnina dahyamanastu satrumadhye gato rane | 
visame durgame caiva bhayartah saranarp gatah || 6 || 

na tesam jayate kirncidasubharn ranasarpkate | 
napadarn tasya pasyami soka duhkha bhayarn na hi || 7 || 

yaistu bhaktya smrta nunarn tesarn vrddhih prajayate | 
ye tvam smaranti devesT raksase tanna sarnsayah || 8 || 

pretasarnstha tu camunDa varahl mahisasana | 
aindrlgaja samaruDha vaisnavTgaruDasana || 9 || 



li 



mahesvari vrsaruDha kauman sikhivahana | 

laksmTh padmasana devT padmahasta haripriya || 10 || 

sveta rupadhara devTTsvan vrsa vahana | 

brahmT harpsa samaruDha sarvabharana bhusita || 1 1 || 

ityeta matarah sarvah sarvayoga samanvitah | 
nanabharana-sobhaDhya nanaratno pasobhitah || 12 || 

drsyante rathamaruDha devyah krodhasamakulah | 

sahkharp cakram gadam saktim halam ca musalayudham || 13 || 

khetakarp tomararp caiva parasum pasameva ca | 

kuntayu am trisularp ca sarngamayu a muttamam || 14 || 

daityanarp dehanasaya bhaktanam-abhayaya ca | 
dharayantyayu dhanlttharp devanam ca hitaya vai || 15 || 

namaste'stu maharaudre mahaghoraparakrame | 
mahabale mahotsahe maha aya vinasini || 16 || 

trahi mam devi duspreksye satrunam bhaya varddhini | 
pracyam raksatu mamaindrTagneyyam agni devata || 17 || 

daksinevatu varahl nairrtyam khaDgadharinT | 
pratTcyam varunlrakse dvayavyam mrgavahinl || 18 || 

udlcyam patu kaumarlaisanyam suladharinT | 

urdhvarp brahmani me raksed adhastad vaisnavTtatha || 19 

evarp dasa diso rakseccamunDa savavahana | 
jaya me cagratah patu vijaya patu prsthatah || 20 

ajita vamaparsve tu daksine caparajita | 

sikha mudyotinT raksed uma murdhni vyavas ita || 21 

maladharllalate ca bhruvau raksed yasasvinl | 
trinetra ca bhruvor madhye yamaghanta ca nasike || 22 



satikhini caksusor madhye srotrayor dvaravasini | 
kapolau kalika rakset karnamule tu sahkarT || 23 

nasikayarp sugandha ca uttarosthe ca carcika | 
adhare camrtakala jihvayarp ca sarasvatT || 24 

dantan raksatu kaumarTkantha dese tu canDika | 
ghantikam citraghanta ca mahamaya ca taluke || 25 

kamaksTcibukarp raksed vacarh me sarvamahgala | 
grlvayam bhadrakallca prsthavarpse dhanurddharT 26 

nllagrlva bahih kanthe nalikarp nalakubarT | 

skandayoh aDginT raksed bahu me vajradharinT || 27 

hastayor danDinT raksed ambika cahgullsu ca | 
nakhan-chule svarT rakset kuksau rakset kulesvarT || 28 

stanau raksen mahadevT manah sokavinasinT | 
hrdaye lalita devludare suladharinT || 29 

nabhau ca kaminT raksed guhyarp guhyesvarltatha | 
putana kamika meDhrarp gu dhe mahisavahinl || 30 

katyarp bhagavatT raksej janunT vindhya vasinl | 
janghe mahabala rakset sarva kama pradayinT || 31 

gulphayor narasirphlca pada-prsthe tu taijasT | 
padahgullsu srT rakset pada dhastala vasinl || 32 

nakhan damstrakaralT ca kesam scaivor-dhvakesinT 
romakupesu kauberltvacarp vaglsvarltatha || 33 

rakta majjava samamsan yasthi medarpsi parvatT | 
antrani kalaratrisca pittarp ca mukutesvarT || 34 

padmavatl padmakose kaphe cuDamanis tatha | 
jvalamukhT nakha jvala mabhedya sarva sandhisu || 35 

12 



sukram brahmani me raksec chayam chatresvari tatha | 
ahamkaram mano buddhim raksenme dharmadharinT 36 

prana panau tatha vyana mudanam ca samanakam | 
vajra hasta ca me rakset pranam kalyanasobhana || 37 

rase rupe ca gandhe ca sabde sparse ca yoginl | 
sattvam rajas tamascaiva raksen narayanT sada || 38 

ayu raksatu varahTdharmam raksatu vaisnavT | 

yasah kTrtim ca laksmlm ca dhanam vidyam ca cakrinT | 39 

gotramindranT me rakset pasume raksa canDike 

putran raksen mahalaksmlr bharyam raksatu bhairavl | 40 

pan anam supatha raksen margam ksemakarT tatha | 
rajadvare mahalaksmlr vijaya sarvatah sthita || 41 

raksahlnam tu yat s anam varjitam kavacena tu | 
tat sarvam raksa me devi jayantl papanasinl || 42 

padamekam na gacchettu yadlc-chec-chubha matmanah | 
kavacena vrto nityam yatra yatraiva gacchati || 43 

tatra tatrartha labhasca vijayah sarva kamikah | 

yam yam cintayate kamam tarn tarn prapnoti niscitam | 

paramaisvarya-matulam prapsyate utale puman || 44 

nirbhayo jayate martyah sahgramesva parajitah | 
trailokye tu bhavet pujyah kavacena vrtah puman || 45 

idam tu devyah kavacam devanamapi durlabham | 

yah pathet prayato nityam trisandhyam sraddhayan vitah || 46 

daivlkala avettasya trailokyesvaparajitah | 
jived varsasatam sagra mapamrtyu vivarjitah |[ 47 



nasyanti vya ayah sarve luta vispho takadayah | 
sthavaram jahgamam caiva krtrimam capi yadvisam || 48 

abhicarani sarvani mantra yantrani bh utale [ 
bhucarah khecaras caiva jalajasco padesikah || 49 

sahaja kulaja mala dakinlsakinT tatha | 

antariksa cara ghora dakinyasca mahabalah || 50 

graha bhuta pisacasca yaksa gandharva raksasah | 
brahma raksasa vetalah kusmanDa bhaira vadayah || 51 

nasyanti darsanat tasya kavace hrdi samsthite | 
manonnatir bhaved rajhas tejo vrddhi karam param || 52 

yasasa varddhate so'pi klrti manDita bh utale | 

japet saptasatlm canDTm krtva tu kavacam pura || 53 

yavad umanDalam atte sasaila vana kananam | 
tavat tis ati medinyam santatih putra pautrikT || 54 

dehante paramam s anam yat surairapi durlabham | 
prapnoti puruso nityam mahamaya prasadatah || 55 

labhate paramam rupam sivena saha modate || 56 

om 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



argala stotram 



/ 

ARGALA 



Argala means a bolt, the knowledge of which is necessary to open the door to 
the secrets sealed within Saptashati. 



orp asya siT argala stotra maha mantrasya 

visnur rsih anustup chandah srT mahalaksmlr devata 

srT jagadamba prTtyarthe saptasatT pathahgat vena jape viniyogah | 

orp namascandikayai 

markanDeya uvaca 

orp 

jayantl mangala kali bhadrakall kapalinl | 

durga ksama siva dhatrT svaha sva a namo'stu te || 1 

jaya tvarn devi camunDe jaya bhutartiharini | 
jaya sarvagate devi kalaratri namo'stu te || 2 

give the form/beauty (rupa), give the victory, give the fame, kill the enemies 

madhu kaitabha vidravi vidhatr varade namah 
ruparp dehi jayarp dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 3 

mahisasura nirnasi bhaktanarp sukade namah j 
ruparp dehi jayarp dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 4 

rakta bijavadhe devi canDamunDa vinasini 
ruparp dehi jayarp dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 5 

sum asyaiva nisumbhasya dhumraksasya ca mardini [ 
ruparp dehi jayarp dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 6 

vanditaii-ghiyuge devi sarva saubhagya dayini | 
ruparp dehi jayarp dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 7 

acintya rupa carite sarva satru vinasini | 

ruparp dehi jayarp dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 8 

siddha mantra to obtain bhakti and elimination of sins 

natebhyah sarvada bhaktya canDike duritapahe | 
ruparp dehi jayarp dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi 9 



14 



stuvadbhyo bhaktipurvarp tvarp canDike vyadhinasini 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 10 

canDike satatarp ye tvamarcayantiha bhaktitah | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 1 1 

dehi saubhagya-marogyam dehi me paramam sukham | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 12 

vidhehi dvisatarp nasarp vidhehi bala muccakaih [ 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 13 

vidhehi devi kalyanarp vidhehi paramam sriyarp 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 14 

surasura siroratna nighrsta carane'mbike | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 15 

vidyavantarp yasasvantarp laksmlvantarp janarp kuru | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 16 

pracanDadaitya darpaghne canDike pranataya me | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 17 

caturbhuje caturvaktra sarpstute paramesvari | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 18 

krsnena sarpstute devi sasvadbhaktya sadambike | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 19 

himacala sutana a sarpstute paramesvari | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 20 

indranTpati sadbhava pujite paramesvari | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 21 

devi pracanDa dordanDa daitya darpa vinasini | 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 22 



devi b! akta janod dama dattanando daye'mbike \ 
ruparp dehi jayam dehi yaso dehi dviso jahi || 23 

patnTrn manoramam dehi manovrttanusarinlm | 
tarinlrp durga sarpsara sagarasya kulodbhavam || 24 

idarp stotram pa itvatu mahastotrarp pa en narah | 
sa tu saptasatT sarp ya varamapnoti sampadam || 25 

orp 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



kilakam 



KILAKAM 



For the recitation of saptasati to be effective, a certain condition had to be fulfilled 
and this is mentioned in the kHakam 

The sadhaka should offer all of his being unreservedly to the Divine Mother. 



om asya siT kilaka mantrasya siva rsih anustup andah srl 
mahasarasvatT devata snjagadamba prTtyartharp saptasati path atigat 
vena jape viniyogah | 

om namascandikayai 

markanDeya uvaca 

om 

visuddha jnana dehayatrivedldivya caksuse | 
sreyahprapti nimittaya namah somarddha dharine || 1 

sarva metad vijaniyan mantranam abhi kilakam [ 
so'pi ksemama vapnoti satatam japya tatparah || 2 

siddhyan-tyuc-catanadini vastuni sakalanyapi | 
etena stuvatam devlstotra matrena siddhyati || 3 

na mantro nausadham tatra na kincidapi vidyate | 
vina japyena sid yeta sarva muccatanadikam || 4 

samagranyapi siddhyanti loka sahkamimam harah | 
krtva nimantra yamasa sarvamevamidam su am || 5 

stotram vai candikayastu tacca guptam cakara sah | 
samaptirna ca punyasya tarn ya a vanni yantranam || 6 

so'pi ksema mavapnoti sarvamevam na samsayah | 
krsnayam va caturdasyam astamyam va samahitah || 7 

dadati prati grhnati nanyathaisa prasldati | 
ittham rupena kllena mahadevena kTlitam 8 

yo niskllam vidhayainam nityam japati samsphutam | 
sa sid ah sa ganah so'pi gandharvo jayate narah [[ 9 



16 



na caivap yatatastasya bhayam kvaplha jayate | 

napa mrtyu vasam yati mrto moksama vapnuyat || 10 

jnatva prarabhya kurvTta na kurvano vinasyati | 

tato jnatvaiva sampannam idam prarabhyate budhaih || 1 1 

sau agyadi ca yat kincid drsyate lalanajane | 

tat sarvam tat prasadena tena japyamidarp subham || 12 

sanaistu japyamane'smin stotre sampatti ruccakaih | 
bhavat yeva samagrapi tatah prarabhyam eva tat || 13 

aisvaryam yat prasadena saubhagyarogya sampadah | 
satruhanih paro moksah stuyate sa na kirn janaih || 14 

om 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



navaksari nyasam 



NAVAKSARI NYASAM 



Once the nyasah is done, the entire body of the sadhaka belongs to the Divine, 
and the sadhaka has no claim over it. Perform the japa with this attitude. 



orp asya sri navarna mantrasya 

(alternate: asya srT chandT mahalaksmT maha mantrasya) 

brahma visnu rudra rsayah 

gayatry usnig anustubhs chandarpsi 

srT mahakafi mahalaksmT mahasarasvatyo devatah 

aim bljam 

hrlm saktin 

kITm kllakam 

srT mahakafT mahalaksmT mahasarasvati prTtyarthe 
navarna siddhyarthe jape viniyogah 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



vedoktamratri suktam 



(■ N 

VEDOKTAMRATRI SUKTAM 

The 127th sukta in the 1 0th Mandala of the Rig Veda. 



vedoktamratri suktam audio 



v. / 



ratnti suktasya kusika rsih gayatn chandah ratridevata sri jagadamba 
prTtyarthe jape viniyogah | 

om 

ratri" vyakhya dayatT purutra devy(a..a)ksabhih | 
visva ad hi sriyo"dhita [| 1 

orvapra amartya nivato" devy(u..u)dvatah | 
jyotisa bad hate tamah || 2 

niru svasa"ramas krtosasam" devya" yatl | 
apedu hasate tamah || 3 

sa no" adya yasya" vayam ni te yamanna viksmahi | 
vrkse na vasatim vayah || 4 

ni grama"so aviksata ni padvanto ni paksinah | 
nisvena sasci darthinah || 5 

yavaya" vrky(a..a)mvrkam" yavaya stena mu'Vmye | 
atha" nah sutara" bhava || 6 

upa ma pepi sattamah krsnam vyakta masthita | 
usa-meva yataya || 7 

upa te ga ivakaram vrnTsva duhitardivah | 
ratrl stomam na jigyuse" |[ 8 

om 



19 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



navaksari kara nyasah 



om aim ahgusthabhyam namah 

orp hnm tarjanlbhyam namah 

om kITm madhyamabhyam namah 

om camunDayai anamikabhyam namah 

om vicce kanisthikabhyam namah 

om aim hrlm kITm camunDayai vicce 
karatalakara prsthabhyam astraya phat 

om aim hrlm kITm camunDayai vicce 



ahgusthabhyam : 

While saying this phrase, place the nails of your thumbs at the base of your forefingers; slowly trace a 
line with the thumbnails from the base to the tip of your forefingers. 

middle finger 

ring finger 

pinkie 

karatalakara prsthabhyam astraya phat : 

Using the backs of your right fingernails, gently trace lines from the base of the left palm (or some even 
go to elbow) to the left fingertips. Now do the same, using the left fingertips on the right palm (or 
elbow). Do 2-3 times, until you've finished saying. 



20 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 

navaksari hrdayadi (anga) 
nyasah 



om aim hrdayaya namah 

om hrTm sirase svaha 

om kITm sikhayai vasat 

om camunDayai kavacaya hum 

om vicce netratrayaya vausat 

om aim hrTm kITm camunDayai vicce 
karatalakara prsthabhyam astraya phat 

om aim hrTm kITm camunDayai vicce 
om bhurbhuvassuvarom | iti dikbandah 



top of head 
back of head 

clasp upper part of arms just below shoulder with arms crossed at chest 
3 eyes 

While saying this, trace a clockwise circle around your body using your right hand. Clockwise as if you 
were looking down on your head from above. As you say "phat", you can clap your hands loudly and 
decisively either once or 3 times. Clapping loudly is considered to break up any stagnant or negative 
energy patterns in the room, and to scatter any uncooperative entities in the area. So do this with a firm 
will and determination that nothing is going to deter you from your purpose of chanting Mother's sacred 
names. (Astra means a fiery missile, so here we are tracing a subtle circular shield of fire, to protect us 
while we practice. Phat is a powerful sound of expelling and repelling negative energy.) 

While saying this, you can again pass your right hand in a clockwise circle above and around your 
body. While doing this, you can snap your fingers. Traditionally, ones snaps in each of the 10 directions 
(front, front-right, right, right-back, back, left-back, left, front-left, up, and down). But you can just snap 
a bunch of times and mentally think of the 10 directions. ("Bhurbhuvassuvarom" contains 4 words, 
bhuhu, bhuvaha, suvaha, and Om. These are the same 4 words in the first line of Gayatri Mantra. 
Bhuhu refers to the Earth, bhuvaha refers to the next level or loka, and suvaha refers to a level higher 
than that, like a heaven or astral realm. By snapping in all directions, we protect ourselves from 
unnecessary intrusions that might come from any direction 



21 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



navaksari dhyanam 




dhyanam 



khaDgarp cakra gadesu capa parighan chularn bhusundTm sirah 
sahkham sarnda atTrp karai strinayanam sarvaiiga bhusavrtam [ 
nllasmadyutimasya pada dasakam seve mahakallkam 
yamastaut svapite harau kamalajo hanturp ma urn kaitabham |[ 



aksasrak parasum gadesu kulisarn padmarn dhanuh kunDikam 
danDarn saktim asirn ca carma jalajam ghantam surabhajanam | 
sularn pasa sudarsane ca dadhatTrn hastaih prasannananarn 
seve sairibha mardinlmiha mahalaksmTm sarojasthitam || 



ghanta sula halani sahkha musale cakrarn dhanuh sayakarn 
hastabjair da atlrn ananta vilasacchTtam sutulya prabham | 
gaundeha samud avarn trijagatam adharabhutam 
mahapurvamatra sarasvatlm anubhaje sumbhadi daityardinlm || 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



navaksari panchopacharam 



lam prthivyatmikayai namah | gandharh kalpayami 



roll thumbs on little fingers of both hands - offering gandham. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
gandham to fill the size of the earth 

ham akasatmikayai namah | pusparh kalpayami 



roll index fingers on thumbs of both hands - offering puspam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
pusham to fill the size of the entire sky. 

yam vayvatmikayai namah | dhupam kalpayami 



roll thumbs on index fingers of both hands - offering dhoopam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
dhoopam to fill the size of all the air Vayu (air). 

ram agnyatmikayai namah | dlparti kalpayami 



roll thumbs on middle fingers of both hands - offering agni. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
deepam to fill the all agni. 

varti amrtatmikayai namah | amritam kalpayami 



roll thumbs on ring fingers of both hands - offering naivedyam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
Amrit or Ambrosia. 

sarh sarvatmikayai namah | samastopacaran samarpayami 

offer akshatas and namaskar mudra... offering all services in the mind mental and the deities will offer 
to you. 



23 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



navaksari (navarna) japam 



NAVAKSARI (NAVARNA) JAPAM 



Surrender self to mantra before japam. 

Pray for purification of mind (when mind becomes pure and free from desires 
it attains liberation). 

Visualise deity on crown lotus and self moving into and merging with deity 

Visualise oneness with the divine infinite consciousness with self 
transforming into meditational deity. 



orp aim hrTm kITm camunDayai vicce 
(108 times i.e. 1 mala or multiples of mala) 



24 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



saptasati nyasam 



om prathama madhyamouttara caritranam 
brahma visnu rudra rishayah 

srl mahakafT mahalaksmT mahasarasvatyo devatah 

gayatry usnig anustup chandarpsi 

nanda sakambharT bhlmah saktayah 

raktadantika durga bhramarlo bljani 

agni vayu suryas tattvani rigyajus samaveda dhyanani 

sakala kamana siddhaye 

srT mahakaU mahalaksmT mahasarasvato devata prTtyarthe jape 
viniyogah 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 

saptasati kara nyasam 



While reciting slowly trace a line with the thumbnails from the base to the tip of the respective fingers. 
Refer navaksari kara nyasam for details. 



orp 



khaDginT sulinT ghora gadinT cakrinT tatha 
sahkhinlcapinT banabhusundT parighayudha | 
aiigusthabhyam namah 

sulena pahi no devi pahi khaDgena cambike | 
ghanta svanena nah pahi capajyanin svanena ca || 
tarjanTbhyam namah 

pracyarpraksa pratlcyam ca canDike raksa daksine | 
bhramanenatmasulasya uttarasyam tathesvari || 
madhyamabhyam namah 

saumyani yanT rupani trailokye vicaranti te 

yani catyarthaghorani tai raksasmams tatha bhuvam 

anamikabhyam namah 

khaDga sula gadadlni yani castrani te'mbike | 
karapallavasahglni tairasman raksa sarvatah || 
kanisthikabhyam namah 

sarvasvarupe sarvese sarvasaktisamanvite | 
bhayebhyastrahi no devi durge devi namo'stu te || 
karatalakara prsthabhyam namah 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 

saptasati hrdaya (anga) 
nyasam 



Refer navaksari hrdaya (anga) nyasam for details. 



orp 



khaDginT sulinT ghora gadinT cakrinT tatha 
sahkhinlcapinT banabhusundT parighayudha | 
hrdayaya namah 

sulena pahi no devi pahi khaDgena cambike | 
ghanta svanena nah pahi capajyanin svanena ca || 
sirase svaha 

pracyarp raksa pratlcyam ca canDike raksa daksine 
bhramanenatmasulasya uttarasyam tathesvari || 
sikhayai vasat 

saumyani yanT rupani trailokye vicaranti te | 

yani catyarthaghorani tai raksasmamstatha bhuvam 

kavacaya hum 

khaDgasulagadadTni yani castrani te'mbike | 
karapallavasahglni tairasman raksa sarvatah || 
netratrayaya vausat 

sarvasvarupe sarvese sarvasakti samanvite | 
bhayebhyastrahi no devi durge devi namo'stu te || 
astraya phat 

orp bhurbhuvassuvarorp | iti dikbandah 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 



saptasati dhyanam 




I meditate upon the three-eyed Goddess, Durga, the Reliever of Difficulties; 
the luster of her beautiful body is like lightening. She sits upon the shoulders of a lion and 
appears very fierce. Many maidens, holding the double-edged sword and shield in their 
hands are standing at readiness to serve Her. 

She holds in Her hands the discus & club, double-edged sword & shield, arrow & bow, 
noose & the mudra connecting the thumb and pointer fingers extended upwards, 
indicating the granting of wisdom. 

Her intrinsic nature is fore, and upon Her head, She wears the moon as a crown. 



dhyanam 

orp vidyud damasamaprabharp mrgapati skandhasthitam 
bhTsanam 

kanyabhin karavalakheta vilasad-dhastabhira sevitam | 
hastai scakra gadasi eta visikharpscaparp gunam 
tarjanlrp bibhranamanalatmikarp sasidhararp durgarp 
trinetrarp bhaje || 



PRELIMINARY SLOKAS 

saptasatl panchopacharam 



lam prthivyatmikayai namah | gandharh kalpayami 

roll thumbs on little fingers of both hands - offering gandham. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
gandham to fill the size of the earth 



ham akasatmikayai namah | puspam kalpayami 

roll index fingers on thumbs of both hands - offering puspam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
pusham to fill the size of the entire sky. 



yam vayvatmikayai namah | dhupam kalpayami 

roll thumbs on index fingers of both hands - offering dhoopam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
dhoopam to fill the size of all the air Vayu (air). 



ram agnyatmikayai namah | diparti kalpayami 

roll thumbs on middle fingers of both hands - offering agni. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
deepam to fill the all agni. 



varti amrtatmikayai namah | amritam kalpayami 

roll thumbs on ring fingers of both hands - offering naivedyam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
Amrit or Ambrosia. 



sarti sarvatmikayai namah | samastopacaran samarpayami 

offer akshatas and namaskar mudra... offering all services in the mind mental and the deities will offer 
to you. 



30 



DEVI MAHATMYA 

sri durga 
saptasati 



DEVr MAHATMYA 



prathama 
caritrasya 



The first episode reveals the Adi Sakti or Moola Prakrti in her dark, deluding aspect 
(Tamas) that ensnares humankind through the psychological afflictions of ignorance and 
attachment, through the influence of tamas and rajas. 

It teaches us about the nature of reality at the most basic primordial level. Maha Vishnu has to 
awaken from the state of primal sleep in order overcome the original demoniacal forces, Madhu 
(tamas) and Kaitabha (rajas). This is possible only through Maha Maya's grace, only if She frees 
Vishnu from the influence of Yoga Maya, the primordial inactive state predominated by cosmic 
Tamas. 



Section i 



Overview 



Overview and brief description 

The Prathama Charitram (i.e. the first portion of the story) consists of one chapter and 
describes the destruction of Madhu Kaitabha. As mentioned before, Devi is attributed in 
the form of Maha Kali/Durga in this section. 

The Prathama Charitra starts with the description of how Devi Mahatmyam was revealed 
to King Surata, as explained before in the introductory chapter. 

At the end of (previous) Kalpa, the entire universe was submerged in water and Lord 
Mahavishnu went into Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) state. Two Asuras (Demons) by name 
Madhu and Kaitabha came into existence from the excreta secreted from Lord Maha 
Vishnu's ears. They tried to kill Brahma who was seated in the Lotus abdominal portion 
(Nabhi Kamalam) of Maha Vishnu. Lord Brahma prays Yoga Nidra Devi, the Vishnu Maya 
to come to his help. At the end of Brahma's prayer, Maya Devi appeared in front of 
Brahma by emanating from Lord Maha Vishnu's body. Lord Maha Vishnu also wakes up 
from His Yoga Nidra by this time and fights with Madhu and Kaitabha for one thousand 
years. At one point of time, Madhu and Kaitabha offered a boon to Lord Maha Vishnu. 
Lord Maha Vishnu requests the destroyal of both of them as boon. Madhu and Kaitabha 
accepted to their killing by Lord Maha Vishnu in a place where there is no water. Lord 
Maha Vishnu immediately kills them by placing them on His lap with His Sudarshana 
Chakra. 



PRATHAMA CARITRASYA 



dhyanam 




Kali is often depicted in the posture called pratyalidha, with Her left knee advanced and her right leg 
drawn back. In this position Her left foot can prod Her Shiva into wakefulness. Pratyalidhaand its 
opposite, the alidha stance (right knee advanced, left drawn back) both come from a Sanskrit root 
which means "lapped up, licked, tongue applied to, eaten." 

What She eats, with Her tongue, Her eyes, and Her very pose, is your Ahamkara Shakti, your energy of 
self. Since the chief expression of shakti in the physical body isprana, the life force, the power which 
keeps body, mind and spirit functioning together as a living unit, what Kali eats as you worship Her is 
your prana. Physical life, health and longevity require that ahamkara self-identify strongly with your 
organism to permit prana to enliven your body. Spiritual health requires ahamkara to relinquish most of 
this attachment, and Kali is happy to help you actively relinquish it. 

The chief carrier of prana in the body is blood, so when you see blood dripping from Kali's tongue you 
should see that blood as the prana of Her devotees, offered to Her to transmute. What She craves is 
your blood (your prana) that She may truly bring you to life. 



When Kali Comes to Call 
Robert E. Svoboda 



viniyogah 



asya snprathama caritrasya [ brahma rsih [ mahakalT devata 
gayatrTchandah | nanda saktih | raktadantika bTjam | 
agnistattvam | rgvedah svarupam | 
srf mahakalT prTtyarthe prathama caritra jape viniyogah j 



dhyanam 

khaDgam cakra gadesu capa parighah chulam bhusundTm sirah 
saiikham samda atlm karai strinayanam sarvahga bhusavrtam [ 
nllasmadyutimasya pada dasakam seve mahakallkam 
yamastaut svapite harau kamalajo hantum ma urn kaitabham || 

om aim srlmahakallcanDikaye vicce namah 



PRATHAMA CARITRASYA 



chapter 1 





The slaying of madhukaitabha 

Madhu and Kaitabha are the two original demoniacal forces of tamas and rajas (also 
attributed to the base nature of attraction and aversion). They try to overcome the 
creative and sattvic force (Brahma). 



Tantrika Ratri Suktam 

DM1: 73 to 87 

In this hymn by Brahma, the Devi is extolled as the incomparable Goddess -Vishnu's 
Yoganidra, the queen of cosmos, the supporter of the worlds, the cause of the 
sustenance and dissolution alike. 



35 



om namascandikayai 

orp aim markanDeya uvaca || 1 

savarnih suryatanayo yo manuh ka yate'stamah | 
nisamaya tadutpattim vistarad gadato mama || 2 

mahamaya nu avenaya a manvantaradhipah | 
sa babhuva mahabhagah savarnistanayo raveh || 3 

svarocise'ntare purvam caitra vamsa samudbhavah | 
suratho nama rajabbut samaste ksiti mandale || 4 

tasya palayatah samyak prajah putrani vaurasan | 
babhuvuh satravo bhupah kola vidhvamsi nastada || 5 

tasya tairabhavad yud am ati prabala danDinah | 
nyunairapi satairyuddhe kolavi vamsi bhirjitah [[ 6 

tatah svapura mayato nija desa dhipo'bhavat | 
akrantah sa maha bhagas taistada prabalaribhin || 7 

amatyair balibhir dustair durbalasya duratmabhin | 
koso balam capahrtam tatrapi svapure tatah || 8 

tato mrgaya vyajena hrtasvamyah sa upatin | 
ekakT haya maruhya jagama gahanam vanam || 9 

sa tatrasra mamadraksld dvija varyasya medhasah | 
prasan tasva padaklrnam muni sisyo pasobhitam || 10 

tasthau kahcitsa kalam ca munina tena satkrtah | 
itasce tasca vicarams tasmin muni varasrame || 11 

so'cintayat tada tatra mamatva krsta cetanah | 
matpurvaih palitam purvam maya hlnam puram hi tat | 12 



madbhr-tyais tairasad vrttair dharmatah palyate na va | 
na jane sa pradhanome surahastlsadamadah || 13 

mama vairivasam yatah kan bhoganu palapsyate | 

ye mamanugata nityam prasada dhana bhojanaih || 14 

anuvrttim dhruvam te'dya kurvan tyan yamahT rtam 

asam yag vyaya silaistaih kurvadbhih satatam vyayam || 15 

sahcitah so'tiduhkhena ksayam koso gamisyati [ 
etac canyacca satatam cintayamasa parthivah | | 16 

tatra viprasra mabhyase vaisyamekam dadarsa sah | 

sa prstastena kastvam bho hetu scagamane'tra kah || 17 

sasoka iva kasmattvam durmana iva laksyase | 
ityakarnya vacastasya upateh pranayoditam || 18 

pratyuvaca sa tarn vaisyah prasraya vanato nrpam || 19 

vaisya uvaca || 20 

samadhirnama vaisyo'ha mutpanno dhaninam kule | 21 

putradarair nirastasca dhana lobhada sadhubhih | 
vihlnasca anair daraih putrairadaya me dhanam | 22 

vanama yagato duhkhTniras tascapta bandhubhih | 
so' ham navedmi putranam kusala kusalat mikarm || 23 

pravrttim svajananam ca daranam catra samsthitah | 

kirn nu tesam grhe ksema maksemam kirn nu sampratam 24 

katham te kirn nu sadvrtta durvrttah kirn nu me sutah || 25 

rajovaca || 26 

yairnirasto bhavamllubdhaih putradaradibhir dhanaih [[ 27 



tesu kim avatah sneham anuba nati manasam || 28 
vaisya uvaca || 29 

evam etad yatha praha bhavan asmad gatam vacah || 30 

kim karomi naba nati mama nisthuratam manah j 

yaih santyajya pitrsneham dhana lubdhair nirakrtah || 31 

patis svajana hardam ca hardi tesveva me manah | 
ki me tannabhi janami janannapi mahamate || 32 

yat prema pravanam cittam vigunesvapi bandhusu | 
tesam krte me nihsvaso daurmanasyam ca jayate || 33 

karomi kim yanna manastesvaprTtisu nisthuram || 34 

markanDeya uvaca || 35 

tatastau sahitau vipra tarn munim samupasthitau || 36 

sama irnama vaisyo'sau sa ca parthiva sattamah | 

krtva tu tau yatha nyayam yatharham tena samvidam || 37 

upavistau kathah kascic cakratur vaisya parthivau || 38 

rajovaca || 39 

bhagavam stvamaham prastumiccham yekam vadasvatat j 

duh aya yanme manasah svacit tayat tatam vina | 
mamatvam gata rajyasya rajya gesva-khilesvapi || 41 

janato'pi yatha jhasya kimetan muni sattama | 

ayam ca nikrtah putrair darair bhrtyais tathoj jhitah 42 

svajanena ca santyaktas tesu hard! ta apyati | 
evamesa tathaham ca dvavap yatyanta duhkhitau 43 



drsta dose' pi visaye mamatva krsta manasau [ 

tat kimetan maha bhaga yanmoho jhani norapi || 44 

mamasya ca bhavat yesa vivekandhasya muDhata || 45 

rsiruvaca || 46 

jhanamasti samastasya jantorvisaya gocare || 47 

visayasca mahabhaga yati caivam prthak prthak | 
divandhah praninah kecid ratravandhas tathapare || 48 

keciddiva tatha ratrau praninas tulya-drstayah | 
jhanino manujah satyam kim tu te nahi kevalam 49 

yato hi jhaninah sarve pasu paksi mrgadayah | 

jhanam ca tanmanusyanam yattesam mrgapaksinam || 50 

manusyanam ca yattesam tulya manyat tathobhayoh | 
jhane'pi sati pasyaitan pata gahcha vacahcusu || 51 

kanamoksa drtan mohat pTDyamananapi ksudha | 
manusa manu javyaghra sabhilasah sutan prati || 52 

lobhat pratyupakaraya nanvetan kim na pasyasi | 
tathapi mamatavartte mohagarte nipatitah || 53 

mahamaya prabhavena samsara sthiti karina | 
tannatra vismayah karyo yoganidra jagat pateh || 54 

mahamaya harescaisa taya sammohyate jagat | 
jhaninamapi cetamsi devT bhagavatl hi sa || 55 

baladakrsya mohaya mahamaya prayac ati | 
taya visrjate visvam jagadetac caracaram || 56 

saisa prasanna varada nmam bhavati muktaye | 
sa vidya parama mukter hetu bhuta sanatanl 57 



samsara band ha hetusca saiva sarvesvaresvan || 58 
rajovaca || 59 

bhagavan ka hi sa devT mahamayeti yam bhavan || 60 

bravTti kathamutpanna sa karmasyasca kirn dvija | 

yat prabhava ca sa devT yat svarupa yadudbhava || 61 

tatsarvam srotumic ami tvatto brahma vidam vara |[ 62 

rsiruvaca || 63 

nityaiva sa jaganmurtis taya sarvamidam tatam || 64 

tathapi tat samutpattir bahudha sruyatam mama | 
devanam karya siddhyartha mavirbhavati sa yada || 65 

utpanneti tada loke sa nityapyabhi dhTyate | 
yoganidramyadavisnurjagatyekarnavlkrte || 66 

astlrya sesa-mabhajat kalpante bhagavan prabhuh | 

tada dvavasurau ghorau vikhyatau madhu kaitabhau || 67 

visnu-karnamalod bhutau hantum brahmanamudyatau 
sa nabhi kamale visnoh sthito brahma prajapatih || 68 

drstva tavasurau cograu prasuptam ca janardanam | 
tustava yoganidram tamekagra hrdaya sthitah || 69 

vibodhanar-thaya harer hari netra krtalayam 

visvesvarlm jagad dhatrlm sthiti samharakarinlm [ 70 

nidram bhagavatlm visnoratulam tejasah prabhuh 71 

bramhovaca || 72 

tvam svaha tvam svadha tvam hi vasatkarah svaratmika | 73 



sudha tvamaksare nitye tridha matratmika sthita 
ardhamatra sthita nitya yanuccarya visesatah || 74 

tvameva sandhya savitrltvam devi jananT para | 
tvayai taddharyate visvarp tvayaitat srjyate jagat || 75 

tvayaitat palyate devi tvamatsyante ca sarvada | 
visrstau srstirupa tvam sthiti rupa ca palane || 76 

tatha samhrti-rupante jagato'sya jaganmaye | 
mahavidya mahamaya mahamedha mahasmrtih 77 

mahamoha ca bhavatT mahadevT mahasurT | 
prakrtistvam ca sarvasya guna traya vibhavinT || 78 

kalaratrir maharatrir moha ratrisca daruna | 

tvam srls tvam TsvarTtvam hrls.tvam buddhir bodha-laksnana | 

lap pustis tatha tustis tvam santih ksantireva ca | 
khaDginTsulinT ghora gadinlcakrinT tatha 80 

sahkhinlcapinT bana-bhusundT parighayudha | 

saumya saumya tarasesa saumye-bhyastvati sundarl || 81 

para paranam parama tvameva paramesvarT | 

yacca kimcit kvacidvastu sada sadva khilatmike || 82 

tasya sarvasya ya saktih sa tvam kirn stuyase tada | 
yaya tvaya jagat-srasta jagat patyatti yo jagat || 83 

so' pi nidra vasam nltah kastvam stotu mihesvarah 
visnuh sarTra grahana mahamlsana eva ca || 84 

karitaste yato'tastvam kah stotu m saktiman bhavet 

sa tvamittham prabhavaih svair udarair devi samstuta || 85 

mohayaitau duradharsa vasurau madhu -kaitabhau | 
prabodham ca jagat svamT nTyatamacyuto laghu 86 



bodhasca kriya tamasya hantu metau mahasurau |] 87 
rsiruvaca || 88 

evam stuta tada de vl tamasT tatra ved h asa 1 1 89 

visnoh prabo-dhanaYthaya nihantum madhu kaitabhau 
netrasya nasika bahu hrdayebhyas tathorasah || 90 

nirgamya darsane tasthau brahmano'vyakta janmanah | 
uttasthau ca jagannathas taya mukto janardanah || 91 

ekarnave'hisayanat tatah sa dadrse catau | 
madhu-kaitabhau duratmana vativlrya parakramau || 92 

krodha raktek sana vatturp brahmanam janitodyamau 
samuthaya tatas-tabhyam yuyudhe bhagavan harin || 93 

panca varsa sahasrani bahu praharano vibhuh | 
tavap yati balon mattau mahamaya vimohitau || 94 

uktavantau varo'smatto vriyatamiti kesavam || 95 

srTbhagavan uvaca || 96 

bhavetamadya me tustau mama va ya vubhavapi || 97 
kimanyena varenatra etavaddhi vrtam mama || 98 
rsiruvaca || 99 

vanci-tabhyamiti tada sarva mapo mayam jagat || 1 00 

vilokya tabhyam gadito bhagavan kamaleksanah | 
avam jahi na yatrorvT salilena paripluta || 1 01 

rsiruvaca (| 102 



tathet yuktva agavata sankha cakra gada bhrta | 
krtva cakrena vai chinne jaghane sirasltayoh || 103 

evamesa samutpanna brahmana samstuta svayam | 
prabhavamasya devyastu bhuyah srnu vadami te || 104 

| aim orp 



DEVr MAHATMYA 



madhyama 
caritrasya 



Section i 



Overview 



Overview of Madhama Charitram 

The Madhyama Charitram (i.e. the middle part of story) consists of 3 chapters viz. 
Mahishasura Sainya Vadham, Mahishasura Vadham and Devi Stuti. As mentioned before, 
this section attributes Maha Maya in the form of Maha Lakshmi. 

Chapter 2 Mahisharura Sainya Vadham 

Once upon a time, Mahishasura was ruling the Asuras (Demons) and Indra was ruling the 
Devas. A war breaks out between the two and Mahishasura assumes the post of 
Devendra after defeating the Devas. He also starts performing the functions of Sun, 
Indra, Agni , Vayu, Varuna etc. 

The Devas assemble in front of Lord Brahma, Lord Maha Vishnu and Lord Shiva who get 
very angry after listening to their plight. A resplendent Devi is born from the Tejas (luster) 
of the three Lords. The Lords and other Devas then bestow their divine strength and 
weapons to the Devi. 

The Devi then fights with Mahishasura's army and destroys them completely. 
Chapter 3 Mahisharura Vadham 

The Devi then fights with the important lieutenants of Mahishasura such as Chikshura, 
Chamara, Karala, Uddata, Bashkala, Ugrasya, Ugravirya, Bidala and kills all of them. 
Mahishasura comes and fights with Devi himself upon seeing the defeat and killing of his 
large army. Devi fights with him for a while and then kills him with Shula by standing his 
neck. 

Chapter 4 Devi Stuti 

The Devas become very happy and pleased with the destroyal of Mahishasura's army 
and Mahishasura's slaying by Devi. They all praise and pray Devi as the the embodiment 
of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as well as Lakshmi and Parvati. 

Devi becomes pleased with Devas' praise and offers a boon. Devas request that She 
must come to their rescue from troubles whenever they think of Her. Devi grants their 
wish and disappears. 

The following is the Dhyana Sloka for Madhyama Charitra where Maha Maya Devi is 
worshipped as Maha Lakshmi. 



MADHYAMA CARITRASYA 



dhyanam 




viniyogah 



asya srT ma yama caritrasya visnur rsih [ 
srT mahalaksmlr devata | usnik chandah [ 
sakambhansaktih | durga bljam | vayustattvam | 
yajur vedah svaruparp | 

srT mahalaksmT prTtyartham ma yama caritra jape viniyogah | 



dhyanam 
om 

aksasrak parasum gadesu kulisam padmam anuh kunDikam 
danDam saktim asim ca carma jalajam ghantam surabhajanam | 
sulam pasa sudarsane ca dadhatTm hastaih prasannananam 
seve sairibha mardinlmiha mahalaksmlm sarojasthitam || 

om hrlm srlmahalaksmlcanDikaye vicce namah 



MADHYAMA CARITRASYA 



chapter 2 




anyesarp caiva devanam sakradTnam sariratah 
nirgatam sumahattejastaccaikyam samagacchata 1 1 



And from the bodies of the other gods, Indra and the others. 

Came forth a great fiery splendour, and it became unified in one place. 



orp namascandikayai 



orp hnm rsi ruvaca |[ 1 

deva sura mabhud yuddharp puma mabda satarp pura | 
mahise'suranamadhipe devanam ca purandare || 2 

tatra surair mahavlryair deva sainyarp parajitam | 
jitva ca sakalan devan indro'bhun mahisasurah || 3 

tatah parajita devah padma yonirp prajapatim | 
puras krtya gatas tatra yatresa garuDa-dhvajau || 4 

yatha vrttarp tayostadvan mahisasura cestitam | 
tridasah kathayamasur devabhi bhava vistaram || 5 

suryen dragnya nilen dunarp yamasya varunasya ca | 
anyesarp cadhikaran sa svayameva dhitisthati || 6 

svargan nirakrtah sarve tena devagana bhuvi 
vicaranti yatha martya mahisena duratmana || 7 

etadvah kathitarp sarva mamarari vicestitam [ 
saranarp vah prapannah smo vadhas tasya vicintyatam 

ittharp nisamya devanarp vacarpsi madhusudanah [ 
cakara koparp sam usca bhrukutl kuti lananau || 9 

tato'ti kopa purnasya cakrino vadanat tatah | 
niscakrama mahattejo brahmanah sahkarasya ca || 10 

anyesarp caiva devanam sakradTnam sariratah | 
nirgatam sumahat tejas taccaikyarp samagacchata || 1 

atlva tejasah kutarp jvalan tamiva parvatam | 

dad rsuste suras tatra jvala vyapta digantaram || 12 



atulam tatra tattejah sarva deva sarirajam ] 

ekas am tada-bhunnari" vyapta loka trayam tvisa || 13 

yada-bhuccham-bhavam tejas tena jayata tanmukham | 
yamyena cabhavan kesa bahavo visnu tejasa || 14 

saumyena stanayor yugmarp madhyam caindrena cabhavat | 
vaYunena cajahghoru nitambas tejasa bhuvah || 15 

brahmanas tejasa padau tadaii gulyo'rka tejasa | 
vasunarp ca karah gulyah kauberena ca nasika || 16 

tasyastu dantan sambhutah praja patyena tejasa | 
nayana tritayarp jajhe tat ha pavaka tejasa || 17 

bhruvau ca san dhyayo stejah sravana vanilasya ca | 
anyesam caiva devanarp sarp avas tejasam siva || 18 

tatah samasta devanarp tejo rasi samud bhavam | 
tarn vilokya mudarp prapu ramara mahisarditah || 19 

sularn sulad viniskrsya dadau tasyai pinakadhrk | 

cakrarn ca dattavan krsnah samut padya sva cakratah || 20 

saiikharn ca varunah saktirp dadau tasyai hutasanah | 
maruto dattavarp scaparn banapurne tathesudhT || 21 

vajra mind ran samut padya kulisada maradhipah | 
dadau tasyai sahasrakso ghanta maira vatad gajat || 22 

kala danDa dyamo danDarp pasarp cambupatir dadau | 
prajapati sea ksamalarp dadau brahma kamanDalum || 23 

samasta roma kupesu nijarasmln divakarah | 

kalasca dattavan khaDgarp tasya scarma ca nirmalam || 24 

ksTroda scamalarp hara majare ca ta ambare | 
cuDamanim ta a divyarp kunDale katakani ca [| 25 



ardha candrarp ta a subhrarp keyuran sarva bahusu [ 
nupurau vimalau tadvad graiveyaka-manuttamam || 26 

ahgullyaka ratnani samasta svahgulTsu ca | 
visvakarma dadau tasyai parasurp catinirmalam || 27 

astranya neka rupani tatha-bhedyarp ca darpsanam | 
amlana pa kajarp malarp siras yurasi caparam || 28 

ada daiiala -d h is tasyai pah kajarp catiso b h anam | 
himavan vahanarp sirpharp ratnani vividhani ca |j 29 

dada vasunyarp suraya panapatrarp dhana-dhipah | 
sesasca sarva nageso mahamani vidbhusitam || 30 

nagahararp dadau tasyai dhatte yah prthivlmimam | 
anyairapi surair devT bhusanair ayudhais-tatha || 31 

sammanita nanadoccaih sattahasarp muhur muhuh | 
tasya nadena ghorena krtsnama puritarp nabhah || 32 

ama yatat i mahata prati sabdo mahanabhut | 
cuksubhuh sakala lokah samudrasca cakampire || 33 

cacala vasudha celuh sakalasca mahTdharah | 
jayeti deva sea muda tamucuh sirpha vahinlm || 34 

tustuvur-munaya scainarp akti namratma murtayah [ 
drstva samastarp sarpksubdharp trailokya mamararayah || 

sarpnad-dhakhila sainyaste samut tasthu-rudayud hah | 
ah kimetaditi krodha-dabhasya mahisasurah || 36 

abhya-dhavata tarn sabdam asesair asurair vrtah | 
sadadarsa tato devTrp vyapta loka trayam tvisa || 37 

padakrantya natabhuvarp kirltol likhitambaram | 
ksobhita sesa patalarp anur jyanih svanena tarn |[ 38 



diso bs uja sahasrena samantad vyapya samsthitam [ 
tatah pravavrte yuddham taya devya suradvisam || 39 

sastrastrair bahudha muktair adipita digantaram | 
mahisasura senanlscik surakhyo mahasurah || 40 

yuyudhe camara scan yais caturahga balanvitah | 
rathanama yutaih sadbhir-udagrakhyo mahasurah || 41 

ayudhyatayutanam ca sahasrena mahahanuh | 
pahca sadbhisca niyutair asiloma mahasurah || 42 

ayutanam sataih saDbhir baskalo yuyudhe rane | 
gajavaji sahasraughair anekaih parivaritah || 43 

vrto rathanam kotya ca yuddhe tasminna yudhyata | 
biDa lakhyo'yutanam ca pahca sadbhi ratha yutaih || 44 

yuyudhe samyuge tatra rathanam parivaritah | 
anye ca tatra yutaso rathanaga hayair vrtah || 45 

yuyudhuh samyuge devya saha tatra mahasurah | 
koti koti sahasraistu rathanam dantinam tatha |[ 46 

hayanam ca vrto yuddhe tatra bhun mahisasurah | 
tomarair bhindi palais ca saktibhir musalais tatha || 47 

yuyudhuh samyuge devya khaDgaih parasu pattisaih | 
kecicca ciksipuh saktTh kecit pasam stachapare || 48 

devTm khaDga praha raistu te tarn hantum pracakramuh | 
sapi devl tatastani sastranya strani candika || 49 

Ilia yaiva pracic eda nija sastra stravarsinT | 
anaya stanana devl stuyamana surarsibhih || 50 

mumocasura dehesu sastranya stranT cesvarT | 
so'pi kruddho dhutasato devya vahanakesarT || 51 



cacarasura sainyesu vanesviva hutasanah | 
nihsvasan mumuce yamsca yudhyamana rane'mbika || 

ta eva sadyah sambhuta ganah sata sahasrasah | 
yuyu uste parasubhir bhindipalasi pattisaih || 53 

nasayanto'suraganan devlsaktyupa brmhitah | 
avadayanta patahan ganah sahkham statl apare || 54 

mrdahgam sea tathai vanye tasmin yud a mahotsave 
tato devltrisulena gadaya sakti-vrstibhih || 55 

khaDga dibhisca sataso nijaghana mahasuran | 
patayamasa caivanyan ghanta svana vimohitan || 56 

asuran bhuvi pasena bad va canyana karsayat | 
kecid dvidha krtas tiksnaih khaDga patai stathapare || 

vipothita nipatena gadaya bhuvi serate | 

vemusca kecid rudhiram musalena bhrsam hatah ]| 5 

kecin nipatita umau innah sulena vaksasi | 
nirantarah saraughena krtah kecid ranajire || 59 

syenanu karinah pranan mumucus trida sardanah | 
kesamcid bahavas innas-chinna grlvas tathapare || 

siramsi peturanyesa manye ma ye vidaritah | 

vie inna jahg has tvapare peturur-vyam mahasurah || 

ekabah vaksi caranah kecid devya dvidhakrtah | 
chinne'pi canye sirasi patitah punarut thitah || 62 

kaban a yuyudhur devya grhlta parama yudhah | 
nanrtu scapare tatra yud e turya laya sritah || 63 

kabandhas-chinna sirasah khaDga saktyrsti panayah | 
tistha tistheti bhasanto devlmanye mahasurah || 64 



patitai ratha nagasvair asuraisca vasundhara [ 

agamya sa avat tatra yatrabhut sa maharanah || 65 

sonitaugha mahanadyah sadyas tatra prasusruvuh | 
ma Jhye casura sainyasya varanasura vajinam || 66 

ksanena tanmaha sainyam asuranam tathambika | 
ninye ksayarp yatha vahnis tmadaru mahacayam || 67 

sa ca simho mahanada mutsrjan dhuta kesarah | 
sarlre-bhyo'maranna masuniva vicinvati || 68 

devya ganaisca taistatra krtarp yuddharp mahasuraih | 
yathaisam tutusur devah puspa vrstimuco divi || 69 

om 



MADHYAMA CARITRASYA 



chapter 3 




The slaying of mahisasurah 

ardhaniskranta evasau yudhyamano mahasurah 
taya mahasina devya siraschittva nipatitah 42 

That great asura, who had come forth halfway fighting, was felled by the Goddess, who 
cut off his head with a great sword. 



dhyanam 



orp udyad anu sahasra kantim aruna.ksaumam siromalikam 
rakta.lipta.payodhararp japavatTrp vidya.ma Ttim varam | 
hastabjair.da atTrp trinetra visalad vaktra.ravinda.sriyam 
devTm bad a.himamsu ratna mukutam vande.ravinda.s itam 

orp aim hrlrn kllrp sankarlcandikaye vicce namah 



The radiant body of the Mother of the Universe has a magnificence of a thousand rising 
suns. She is draped in a saree of red silk. Around her neck is a garland of red skulls. Her 
two breasts have been colored with red sandal paste. In her four lotus-like hands She 
holds a rosary and shows the mudras of Knowledge, Fearlessness and Granting of 
Boons. Her three eyes are shining and Her bud-like mouth is extremely beautiful. Upon 
Her head sits a crown of jewels in which the moon is situated, and She is resting upon a 
lotus seat. 

With unlimited devotion I bow to this Goddess. 



47 



om namascandikayai 
orp rsi ruvaca || 1 

nihanyamanarp tat sainya mavalokya mahasurah | 

sena nTscik-surah kopa dyayau yoddhu-mathambikam || 2 

sa devlrp saravarsena vavarsa samare'surah | 
yatha meru gireh srhgarp toya varsena toyadah || 3 

tasyac ittva tato devl ITIayaiva sarotkaran | 
jaghana turagan banair yantaram caiva vajinam || 4 

ciccheda ca dhanun sadyo dhvajam cati samuc-chritam | 
vivyadha caiva gatresu chinna-dhanvana masugain || 5 

saccinna anva viratho hatasvo hata sarathih | 
abhya-dhavata tarn devlrp khaDga carma dharo'surah || 6 

sirpha mahatya khaDgena tlksna-dh arena murdhani [ 
ajaghana bhuje savye devl mapyati vegavan || 7 

tasyah aDgo ujam prapya paphala nrpanandana | 
tato jagraha sularp sa kopa daruna locanah || 8 

ciksepa ca tatas tattu bhadra kalyarp mahasurah | 
jajvalya manarp tejobhTravibimba mivambarat || 9 

drstva tadapa tacchularp devlsulam amuhcata | 

tac ularp sata a tena nltarp sa ca mahasurah || 10 

hate tasmin mahavlrye mahisasya camupatau | 
ajagama gaja ruDhas camarastri dasardanah || 11 

so'pi saktirp mumocatha devyasta mambika drutam | 
humkara-bhihatarp bhumau patayamasa nisprabham |j 12 



bhagnarp saktirp nipatitarp drstva krodha samanvitah [ 
ciksepa camarah sularp banais tadapi sacchinat || 13 

tatah sirphah samutpatya gaja kumbhan tare sthitah | 
bahu yud ena yuyudhe tenoc cais trida sarina || 14 

yuddhya manau tatastau tu tasman nagan mahlrp gatau | 
yuyudhate'tisam-rabdhau praha-rairat i darunaih || 15 

tato vegat kl amut patya nipatya ca mrgarina | 
kara praharena siras camarasya prthak krtam || 16 

udagrasca rane devya sila vrksa dibhirhatah | 
dantamusti talais caiva karalasca nipatitah || 17 

devl kruddha gada patais curna yamasa codcll atam | 
baskalarp indi palena banai stamrarp ta an akam || 18 

ugrasya mugra vlryarp ca ta aiva ca mahahanum | 
trinetra catrisulena jaghana paramesvarT || 19 

biDa lasya sina kayat patayamasa vai sirah | 

durdhararp durmukharp cobhau sarair ninye yamaksayam |[ 20 

evarp sarpkslyamane tu svasainye mahisasurah | 
mahisena svarupena trasa yamasa tan ganan || 21 

karpscit tunda praharena khurak sepais tathaparan | 
langula taDi tarpscanyah srhga bhyarp ca vidaritan || 22 

vegena kamscidaparan nadena bhramanena ca | 
nihsvasa pavane nanyan patayamasa utale || 23 

nipatya prama a nTka • m ab h y a- d h avata so 'surah | 

simharn hanturp mahadevyah koparp cakre tato'mbika || 24 

so'pi kopan mahavlryah khurak sunna mahltalah | 
srnga-bhyarp parvatanuccarp sciksepa ca nanada ca || 25 

4 8 



vega-bhramanaviksunna mahi tasya vya siryata j 
lahgulena hata scab dih plava yamasa sarvatah || 26 

dhuta-sriigavi-bhinnasca khanDarp khanDarp yayur-ghanah | 
svasa nilastah sataso nipetur nabhaso'calah || 27 

iti krodha sama mata mapa tantarp mahasuram | 
drstva sa canDika koparp tadvadhava tadakarot || 28 

sa ksiptva tasya vai pasarp tarn babandha mahasuram | 
tatyaja mahisarp ruparp so'pi baddho mahamrdhe || 29 

tatah sirpho'bhavat sadyo yavat tasyambika si rah | 
chinatti tavat purusah khaDga panira drsyata || 30 

tata evasu purusarp devT ciccheda sayakaih | 

tarn aDga carmana sardharp tatah so'bhun mahagajah || 31 

karena ca mahasirpharp tarn cakarsa jagarja ca | 
karsa tastu kararp devT aDgena nira krntata || 32 

tato mahasuro bhuyo mahisarp vapuras thitah | 
tathaiva ksobhaya masa trailokyam sacaracaram || 33 

tatah kruddha jaganmata canDika panamuttamam | 
papau punah punascaiva jaha saruna locana || 34 

nanarda casurah so'pi balavlrya madod-dhatah || 
visanabhyarp ca ciksepa candlkarp prati bhudharan || 35 

sa ca tan prahitam stena curna yantT sarot karaih | 
uvaca tarn madoddhuta mukha raga kulaksaram || 36 

devyuvaca || 37 

garja garja ksanarp muDha ma u yavat pibamyaham | 
maya tvayi hate'traiva garji syan tyasu devatah |[ 38 



rsiruvaca || 39 



evamuktva samutpatya saruDha tarn mahasuram | 
padena kramya kan e ca sulenaina mata Dayat || 40 

tatah so'pi pada krantas taya nija mukhat tatah | 
ardha-niskranta evasld devya vlryena samvrtah [| 41 

ardha-niskranta evasau yudhya mano mahasurah | 
taya mahasina devya si rase hittva nipatitah || 42 

tato hahakrtarp sarvarp daitya sainyam nanasa tat | 
praharsam ca pararp jagmuh sakala devataganah || 43 

tustu vustarp sura devTrp saha divyair maharsibhih \ 
jagur gandharva patayo nanrtuscap saroganah || 44 

orp 



MADHYAMA CARITRASYA 



chapter 4 



Shakradi-stuti 

The longest and most eloquent of the Chandi's four hymns. Known as the Shakradi stuti 
(Praise by Indra and the host of gods). 

This chapter has some long shlokas. These are commonly recited in two ways. (1) Split it 
into two halves, and pause after each half. (2) Split it into four quarters, and pause after 
each quarter. 

The gita press printed edition assumes that the reciter is splitting the verse into two 
halves (with two pauses). 

If you split it into 4 quarters (with four pauses), you'll have to make some small changes, 
if you split it into four quarters, the gita press text changes to "triguNApi doShaiH / na", 
"tRptihetuH / uccAryase", "asta-samasta-doShaiH / vidyAsi" and "karmANi / atyAdRtaH". 
In the gita press edition, there is a "hypen" in all these spots to indicate that you can't 
pause there without a minor change in the text. 



dhyanam 



orp kala-bhrabham kataksai rarikula-bhayadam 
maulibad dhen durekham 

sahkham cakrarn krpanam trisikha mapikarai rudva hantlm 
trinetram 

simha-skandha-dhiruDham tribhuvana makhilam tejasa 
purayantTrp 

dhyayed durgam jaya khyam tridasa parivrtam sevitarp siddhi kamain 
orp aim hrlrn kllrp jaya durga candikaye vicce naman 



50 



om namascandikayai 

om rsiruvaca || 1 

sakradayah suragana nihate'tivlrye 
tasmin duratmani suraribale ca devya | 
tarn tustuvuh pranati namra siro dharamsa 
vagbhih praharsa pulakod gamacaru dehah || 2 

devya yaya tatamidam jagadatma saktya 
nissesa devagana sakti samuhamurtya | 
tamambika makhila deva maharsi pujyarn 
bhaktya natah sma vidadhatu subhani sa nah || 3 

yasyah prabhava matulam bhagavana nanto 
brahma harasca nahi vaktu malam balarn ca | 
sa canDika-khila jagat paripalanaya 
nasaya casubha bhayasya matim karotu || 4 

ya srlh svayam sukrtinarn bhavane-svalaksmTh 
papat manarn krtadhiyam hrdayesu buddhih | 
sraddha satam kulajana prabhavasya lajja 
tarn tvam natah sma paripalaya devi visvam || 5 

kim varnayama tava rupa macintva metat 
kirn cati vTrya masura ksava kari bhuri | 
kim cahavesu caritani tavad bhutani 
sarvesu devyasura deva ganadi kesu [| 6 



dosaih / na (with pause) or dosair-na (without pause) 

hetuh samasta jagatam trigunapi dosaih- (dosair-na) 
na jhayase harihara dibhirapya para | 
sarva sraya khilamidam jagadam sa utam- 
avyakrta hi parama prakrtis tvamadya || 7 

hetuh / uccar (with pause) or hetu-ruccar (without pause) 

yasyah samasta surata samudlranena 
trptim prayati sakalesu makhesu devi | 
svahasi vai pitrganasya ca trpti hetuh- (hetu-ruccar) 
uccaryase tvamata eva janaih svadha ca || 8 

dosaih / vidyasi (with pause) or dosair-vidyasi (without pause) dosair vidyasi 

ya mukti heturavi cintya mahavrata tvam 
abhyasyase suniya tendriya tattva saraih | 
moksar-thibhir munibhirasta samasta dosaih- 
(dosair-vidyasi) 

vidyasi sa agavatT parama hi devi || 9 

sabdatmika suvi malargya jusam nidhanam- 
udgltha ramya padapa a vatam ca samnam | 
devi tray! bh agavatT bhava-bhavanaya 
vartta ca sarva jagatam paramartti hantrl || 10 

medhasi devi viditakhila sastra sara 
durgasi durga bhava sagara naurasahga | 
srlh kaitabhari hrdayai kakr-tadhivasa 
gaurltvameva sasi mauli krta pratistha || 11 



Tsat saha samamalarp paripurna candra- 
bimbanukari kanakot tama kanti kantam | 
atyadbhutam prahrtamat tarusa tathapi 
vaktrarp vilokya sahasa mahisasurena || 12 

drstvatu devi kupitarp bhrukutTkaralam- (karala-mudyac) 
udyac chasahka sadrsac chavi yanna sadyah | 
pranan mumoca mahisas tadatlva citrarp 
kairjlvyate hi kupitan taka darsanena || 13 

devi praslda parama bhavatT bhavaya 
sadyo vinasayasi kopavatl kulani | 
vijhata meta da ihu naiva yadas tametan 
nltarp balarp suvipularp mahisasurasya 

siddha mantra for overall growth and prosperity 

te sammata janapadesu dhanani tesam 
tesarp yasarpsi na ca sldati dharma vargah 
dhanyasta eva nibhrtat maja-bhrtyadara 
yesarp sadabhyu dayada bhavatT prasanna || 15 

karmany / atya (with pause) or karman yatya (without pause) 

dharmyani devi sakalani sadaiva karmany- (karman -yatya) 
atyadrtah pratidinarp sukrtlkaroti | 
svargarp prayati ca tato bhavatT prasadal- 
loka traye'pi phalada nanu devi tena || 16 



- (tameta-nitam) 
II 14 



siddha mantra to eliminate poverty, misery, fear and grant clear mind 

durge smrta harasi bhTtima sesa jantoh 
svasthaih smrta matimatTva subham dadasi | 
daridrya duhkha bhaya harini ka tvadanya 
sarvopakara karanaya sadardra citta || 17 

ebhir-hatair jagadupaiti sukharp tathaite 
kurvantu nama narakaya ciraya papam | 
sahgrama mrtyu-madhigamya divarp prayantu 
matveti nunamahitan viniharpsi devi || 18 

drstvaiva kirn na bhavatT prakaroti bhasma 
sarva suranarisu yat prahinosi sastram | 
lokan prayantu ripavo'pi hi sastraputa 
ittham matir bhavati tesvapi tetisa vT j| 19 

khaDga prabha nikara visphuranais tathograih 
sulagrakanti nivahena drso'suranam [ 
yannagata vilaya mamsu madindu khanDa- 
yogyananam tava vilokayatam tadetat || 20 

durvrtta vrtta samanam tava devi sTIam 
ruparp tathai tada vicintya matulya manyaih | 
vTryarp ca hantr hrtadeva parakramanarp 
vairisvapi prakati taiva dayatvayet tham || 21 

kenopama bhavatu te'sya parakramasya 
ruparp ca satru bhaya karya ti hari kutra | 
citte krpa samara nisthu-rata ca drsta 
tvayyeva devi varade uvana traye'pi || 22 

trailokya metad akhilam ripuna sanena 
tratarp tvaya samara murdhani te'pi hatva | 
nTta divarp ripugana bhaya mapya pastam 
asmaka munmada surari bhavarp namaste || 23 



siddha mantra to get protection 

sulena pahi no devi pahi khaDgena cambike | 
ghanta-svanena nah pahi capaj yanih svanena ca || 24 

pracyam raksa praticyam ca canDike raksa daksine | 
bhramanenatma sulasya uttarasyam tathesvari || 25 

saumyani yanT rupani trailokye vicaranti te | 

yani cat yartha-ghorani tai raksasmams tatha bhuvam || 26 

khaDga sula gadadlni yani castrani te'mbike | 

kara pal lava sahglni tairasman raksa sarvatah || 27 

rsiruvaca || 28 

evarn stuta surair divyaih kusumair nandanod avaih [ 
arcita jagatarn dhatrl tatha gand ha nule panaih || 29 

bhaktya samastais tridasair divyair dhupaistu dhupita | 
praha prasada sumukhTsamastan pranatan suran || 30 

devyuvaca || 31 

vriyatam tridasah sarve yadas matto'bhivanchitam || 32 
devaucuh || 33 

bhagavatya krtam sarvarn nakihcid avasisyate || 34 

yadayarn nihatah satrur asmakam mahisasurah | 
yadi capi varo deyas tvaya smakam mahesvari || 35 

samsmrta sarnsmrta tvam no himsethah paramapadah | 
yasca martyah stavairebhis tvam sto syatya malanane || 36 

tasya vittarddhi vibhavair-dhana daradi sampadarn | 
vrddhaye'smat prasanna tvam bhavethah sarvadambike || 37 



rsiruvaca 38 



iti prasadita devair jagato'rthe tathat manah | 

tathet yuktva bhadrakalT babhuvan tarhita nrpa || 39 

ityetat kathitam bhupa sambhuta sa yatha pura | 
devldeva sarlrebhyo jagat traya hitaisinT || 40 

punasca gaurldehatsa samud-bhuta yatha-bhavat | 
vadhaya dusta daityanam ta a sumbha nisumbhayoh || 41 

raksanaya ca lokanam devana mupakarinT | 

tac-chr nusva maya kl yatam ya a vatka ayamite || 42 

[ hrlm om [ 



DEVr MAHATMYA 



uttara 
caritrasya 



In the third episode the chief demons are Sumbha (Asmita: "17 "Me", the 
pseudo-self) and Nisumbha (Mamata: "Mine", the attachment to things that the 
false self clings to) who along with their generals Canda (pra-vrtti or extraverted 
psychic energy), Munda (ni-vritti or introverted psychic energy), Dhumralochana 
(distorted perception) and Raktabija (citta vrttis or incessant compulsive 
thought processes), are a formidable force to reckon with. 
Overcoming these subtler demons requires a luminous, benevolent and 
beautiful manifestation, one that can enlighten and liberate. This is the 
manifestation as Maha Sarasvati predominated by Sattva. 



Section i 



Overview 



Overview of Uttama Charitram 

The Uttama Charitram (i.e. last portion of story) consists of 9 chapters. As mentioned 
before, Maha Maya is attributed in the form of Maha Saraswati in this section. 



Chapter 5 Devi Duta Samvada 

Once upon a time, two Asuras viz. Shumbha and Nishumbha ruled the three worlds by 
assuming the authority and duties of Indra, Surya, Chandra, Kubera, Yama, Varuna, Vayu, 
Agni, etc. They also assumed Havir Bhagams of Devas (Offerings made in fire ceremonies 
to various Deities). 

Devas, unable to bear this plight, reach Himalayas and pray to Vishnu Maya. They 
request Her to come to their rescue as promised before. The Devi (Kaushiki) appears 
before them and agrees to destroy Nishumbha, Shumba and their army. 

The Devi is spotted by two Asuras viz. Chanda and Munda who promptly inform the 
same to Shumbha. They tell him that the Devi is very beautiful and it is apt for Shumbha 
to get her. Shumbha sends Sugriva as his envoy to Devi. Sugriva reaches the abode of 
Devi and conveys Shumbha's message that it will be apt for her to marry Shumbha and 
enjoy all wealth. 

Devi tells Sugriva that She had made a vow long before that she would marry only the 
one who defeats her in a fight and requests him to convey the same to Shumbha. 

Chapter 6 Dhumralochana Vadham 

Upon hearing Devi's reply through Sugriva, Shumbha sends Dhumralochana to bring Devi 
to him by force. Dhumralochana reaches the abode of Devi with an army of 60,000 
Asuras. When Dhumralochana tries to go near Devi, Devi burns him instantly by her 
Humkara. His army also gets destroyed by Devi's Vahana (Vehicle) , the Lion. 

Learning about Dhumralochana's death, Shumba asks Chanda and Munda to accomplish 
the same task. 



Chapter 7 Chanda Munda Vadham 

Chanda and Munda, along with their large army, start fighting with Devi. On seeing them, 
Devi's face becomes black in anger. From her face, a fierce and dark colored Devi known 
as Kali comes out. Maha Kali destroys the army of Chanda and Munda. Later She severs 
the heads of both of them and Devi assumes the name Chamunda because of this. 



Chapter 8 Raktabija Vadham 

Shumbha orders the entire Asura army to be assembled to fight Devi. He also joins the 
army. The Asura army surrounds Kali Devi. The respective powers for Brahma, Vishnu, 
Shiva and other Devas emanate from them - Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, 
Varahi, Aindri, Narasimhi, etc. - and reach Kali Devi. Then Devi sends Lord Shiva as her 
envoy to Shumbha and therefore came to be known as Shiva Duti. But Asura's army 
fiercely fights with Devi. The various forms of Devi fight with the Asura army and destroy 
them. 

Seeing this, an Asura known as Raktabija comes and fights with Devi. From every drop of 
blood that falls from his body on to the ground, another equivalent Asura comes into 
being and fights with Devi. Devi orders Chamunda to open Her mouth and drink all the 
blood that falls from the body of Raktabija. Chamunda drinks all the blood emanating 
from Raktabija's body and finally Raktabija falls dead devoid of blood. Devas become 
very happy on the death of Raktabija. 

Chapter 9 Nishumba Vadham 

Nishumbha prepares himself to fight with Devi on seeing that a large portion of their army 
have been destroyed by Devi. A fierce fight breaks between Nishmbha and Devi and Devi 
finally kills him by piercing his heart with Shula (Trident). 



Chapter 10 Shumba Vadham 

Shumbha, on seeing the death of his beloved brother Nishumbha, becomes extremely 
angry and complains to Devi that She is actually putting up a proxy fight with the help of 
other Devis. Devi replies that there is nothing beyond and separate from Her and makes 
all the Shakti forms to merge back into Her. 

A fierce fight breaks between the two and finally Devi kills him by piercing Shula (Trident) 
into his heart. 

Upon Shumbha's death the entire universe becomes happy and devoid of any bad 
omens. 



Chapter 1 1 Devi Stuti 

Immensely pleased with the destruction of Asuras, all Devas assemble in front of Devi 
and praise Her with a stuti which is known by the name Narayani Stuti. 

Devi becomes immensely pleased with their praise and describes some of her future 
incarnations and the names by which She will be known as - e.g. Rakta Dantika, 
Sadakshi, Shakambhari, Durga, Bhima Devi, Bhramari, etc. 



Chapter 12 Phala Stuti 



55 



Devi further explains the benefits that will accrue to one who chants and/or listens to Devi 
Mahatmyam with devotion. She declares that whoever chants or listens to Devi 
Mahatmyam on Ashtami or Navami or Chaturdashi (i.e. 8th or 9th or 14th Lunar day) will 
never see any obstacle, poverty, separation from loved ones, trouble from enemies, etc. 
Her presence will be felt in places where Devi Mahatmyam is chanted. The chanter can 
look forward all kinds of wealth, pleasure and boons. Upon giving this boon, Devi 
disappears. 

Sage Vasishta concludes his narration of Devi Mahatmyam to King Surata and Vaishya 
with this. 



Chapter 13 Vara Vadham 

Sage Vasishta then orders King Surata and Vaishya to surrender themselves to Devi. Both 
of them seek the blessings of the Sage, take leave of him and perform intense Tapas by 
focusing on Devi. 

Devi appears before them after 3 years of intense Tapas and grants them boons. The 
King prays for redemption of his Kingdom and become an indefatigable King in his next 
birth. Vaishya seeks true knowledge (Gyana) that liberates one from ego and attachment. 
Devi grants their wishes and disappears. 

The King will be known as Savarni Manu in future after getting rebirth from Surya 
Bhagavan. 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 



dhyanam 




viniyogah 



asya srT uttara caritrasya rudra rsih | srlmahasarasvatT devata j 
anustup chandah [ bhTmasaktih | bhramarT bTjam | suryas 
tattvam | samavedah svarupam | 

srlmahasarasvatT prTtyarthe uttara caritra pathe viniyogah | 

dhyanam 

om 

ghanta sula halani sahkha musale cakram dhanuh sayakam 
hastabjair dadhatlm ghananta vilasacchltam sutulya prabham | 
gaurldeha samudbhavam trijagatam adharabhutam 
mahapurvamatra sarasvatlm anubhaje sumbhadi daityardinlm || 

om kITm srlmahasarasvatT candikaye vicce namah 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 



chapter 5 



Tantrika Devi Suktam 

This is the third hymn; known as Aparajita-stuti or Tantrika Devi Suktam. 
In this hymn there are more than twenty slokas beginning with 'ya devi sarva bhuteshu', 
indicating that the devi is present in all creatures as consciousness, as power, as intellect, 
as memory, as sleep, as delusion, as desire, as activity, as prosperity, as forgiveness, as 
faith, as loveliness, and so on, reminding us of the Vibhuti Yoga of Gita. 

This beautiful hymn is a powerful meditation by itself, a combination of meditation, 
affirmation and mantra. 




om namascandikayai 
orp kITm rsiruvaca || 1 

pura sumbha-nisumbhabhya masurabhyam sacTpateh | 
trailokyam yajna bhagasca hrta madabala srayat || 2 

taveva suryatarp tadvad a ikararp tathain davam | 
kauberamatha yamyarp ca cakrate varunasya ca || 3 

taveva pavanarddhim ca cakratur vahni karma ca | 
tato deva vinir uta bhrasta rajyah parajitah || 4 

hrtadhi-karas tridasas tabhyarp sarve nirakrtah | 
mahasurabhyam tarn devlrn sam-smarantya parajitam || 5 

tayasmakarp varo datto yathapatsu smrtak hilah | 
bhavatarp nasayisyami tat ksanat paramapadah || 6 

iti krtva matirp deva himavantarp nagesvaram | 
jagmustatra tato devlrn visnumayarp pratustuvuh [| 7 

deva ucuh || 8 

namo devyai mahadevyai sivayai satatarp namah | 
namah prakrtyai bhadrayai niyatah pranatah sma tam || 9 

raudrayai namo nityayai gauryai dhatryai namo namah | 
jyotsnayai cendurupinyai sukhayai satatarp namah || 10 

kalyanyai pranatarp vrddhyai siddhyai kurmo namo namah | 
nairrtyai bhubhrtarp laksmyai sarvanyai te namo namah ]| 

durgayai durga parayai sarayai sarva karinyai | 

khyatyai tathaiva krsnayai dhumrayai satatarp namah || 12 

atisaumyati raudrayai natas tasyai namo namah | 

namo jagat pratisthayai devyai krtyai namo namah || 13 



ya devi sarvabhutesu visnu mayeti sabdita \ 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 14 16 

ya devi sarvab h Cites u cetanetyab h i d hTyate [ 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 17 19 

ya devi sarvabhutesu buddhi rupena sarpsthita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 20 22 

ya devi sarvabhutesu nidra rupena sarps ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 23 25 

ya devi sarvabhutesu ksudha rupena sarpsthita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 26 28 

ya devi sarvabhutesu chaya rupena sarpsthita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 29 31 

ya devi sarvabhutesu sakti rupena sarps ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 32 34 

ya devi sarvabhutesu trsna rupena sarps ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 35 37 

ya devi sarvabhutesu ksanti rupena sarps ita [ 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 38 40 

ya devi sarvabhutesu jati rupena sarpsthita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 41 43 

ya devi sarvabhutesu lap rupena sarpsthita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 44 46 

ya devi sarvabhutesu santi rupena sarps ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 47 49 

ya devi sarvabhutesu sraddha rupena sarps ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 50 52 

59 



ya devi sarvabhutesu kanti rupena sams ita [ 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 53 55 

ya devi sarvabhutesu laksmT rupena sarnstl ita [ 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 56 58 

ya devi sarvabhutesu vrtti rupena samsthita [ 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 59 61 

ya devi sarvabhutesu smrti rupena sams ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 62 64 

ya devi sarvabhutesu daya rupena sams ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 65 67 

ya devi sarvabhutesu tusti rupena sams ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 68 70 

ya devi sarvabhutesu matr rupena sams ita | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 71 73 

ya devi sarvabhutesu bhranti rupena samsthita [ 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 74 76 

indriyana madisthatrT bhutanam cakhilesu ya ] 

bhutesu satatam tasyai vyapti devyai namo namah || 77 

citirupena ya krtsna metad vyapya s ita jagat | 

namastasyai || namastasyai || namastasyai namo namah || 78 80 

stuta suraih purva mabhTsta samsrayat 
tatha surendrena dinesu sevita 

karotu sa nah subha heturTsvarT 

subhani bhadranyabhi hantu capadah 81 



tapitaih asma (with pause) or tapitair-asma (without pause) 

ya sampratam coddhata daitya tapitair- (tapitaih+asma) 
asmabhi rlsa ca surair namasyate | 
ya ca smrta tat ksanameva hanti nah 
sarvapado bhakti vinamra murtibhih [| 82 

rsiruvaca || 83 

evam stavadi yuktanam devanam tatra parvatT | 
snatu-mabhya yayau toye jahnavya nrpanandana || 84 

sabravlttan suran subhrur bhavadbhih stuyate'tra ka [ 
sarlra kosa tascasyah samud-bhuta bravTcchiva || 85 

stotram mamaitat kriyate sumbha-daitya nirakrtaih j 
devaih sametaih samare nisum ena parajitaih || 86 

sarlra kosadyat tasyah parvatya nihsrtambika | 
kausiklti samastesu tato lokesu glyate || 87 

tasyam vinir gatayam tu krsna bhutsapi parvatT | 
kaliketi sama yata himacala krtasraya || 88 

tato'mbikam param rupam bibhranam sumanoharam [ 
dadarsa canDo munDasca bhrtyau sumbha nisum ayoh || 

tabhyam sumbhaya cakhyata atlva sumanohara | 
kapyaste strl maharaja br asayanti himacalam || 90 

naiva tadrk kvacidrupam drstam kenacid uttamam | 
jhayatam kapyasau devlgrhyatam casuresvara || 91 

strl ratnamati carvahgT dyotayantl disastvisa | 

sa tu tisthati daityendra tarn bhavan drastu marhati || 92 

yani ratnani manayo gaja svadlni vai prabho | 

trailokye tu samastani sampratam anti te grhe |[ 93 



airavatah samanito gajaratnam purandarat | 

parijata taruscayam ta ai voccaih srava hayah || 94 

vimanam harpsa sarpyukta metat tisthati te'hgane j 
ratna-bhuta mihanTtam yadasld vedhaso'dbhutam || 95 

nidhiresa mahapadmah samanito dhanesvarat ( 
kinjalkinTm dadau cabdhir mala mamla napankajam || 96 

chatram te varunam gehe kancana sravi tisthati [ 
tathayam syanda navaro yah purasit prajapateh || 97 

mrtyorut krantida nama sakti rlsa tvaya hrta | 
pasah salila rajasya bhratustava parigrahe || 98 

nisumbha-syabdhi jatasca samasta ratna jatayah | 
vahnirapi dadau tu yam agni sauce ca vasasl || 99 

evam daityendra ratnani samastan ya hrtani te | 
strlratna mesa kalyanT tvaya kasmanna grhyate || 100 

rsiruvaca || 101 

nisamyeti vacah sumbhan sa tada canDa munDayoh | 
presayamasa sugrlvam dutam devya mahasuram || 102 

iti ceti ca vaktavya sa gatva vacanan mama | 

yatha cabhyeti samprltya tatha karyam tvaya la u || 103 

sa tatra gatva yatraste sailod dese'ti sobhane | 

sa devltam tatah praha slaksnam madhuraya gira || 104 

duta ruvaca || 105 

devi daityesvarah sumbhas trailokye paramesvarah | 
duto'ham presitastena tvat sakasa mihagatah || 106 



avyahata jhah sarvasu yah sada devayonisu | 

nirji takhila daityarin sa yadaha smusva tat || 107 

mama trailokya-makhilam mama deva vasanugah | 
yajha-bhaga naham sarva nupa snami prthak prthak || 108 

trailokye vararatnani mama vasyan yasesatah | 
tathaiva gajaratnam ca hrtva devendra vahanam || 109 

ksTroda ma hanod bhutam asvaratnam mama maraih [ 
uccaih sravasasam jham tat pranipatya samarpitam || 110 

yani canyani devesu gandarvesu ragesu ca | 

ratna bhutani bhutani tani mayyeva sobhane ][ 111 

strl ratna bhutam tvam devi loke manyamahe vayam | 

sa tvam asman upagac a yato ratna ujo vayam || 112 

mam va mama nujam vapi nisumbha muru vikramam | 
bhaja tvam cahca lapahgi ratna bhutasi vai yatah || 113 

paramaisvarya-matulam prapsyase matpari grahat | 
etad bud ya samalocya matpari grahatam vraja || 114 

rsiruvaca || 115 

ityukta sa tada devi gambhT rantah smitah jagau | 

durga bhagavatT bhadra yayedam dharyate jagat || 116 

devyuvaca || 117 

satyamuktam tvaya natra mi ya kihcit tvayo ditam | 
trailokya-dhipatih sumbho nisumbha-scapi tadrsah || 118 

kirn tvatra yat pratijhatam mi ya tat kriyate ka am | 
sruyatam alpa buddhitvat pratijha ya krta pura || 119 



yo mam jayati sahgrame yo me darpam vyapohati | 
yo me pratibalo loke sa me bharta bhavisyati || 120 

tada gac atu sumbho'tra nisumbho va mahasurah | 
mam jitva kirn cirenatra panim grhnatu me laghu || 121 

dutauvaca || 122 

avaliptasi maivam tvam devi bruhi mamagratah | 

trailokye kah pumam stisthe dagre sumbha nisumbhayoh || 123 

anyesamapi daityanam sarve deva na vai yudhi | 

tisthanti sammukhe devi kirn punah strl tvamekika || 124 

indradyah sakala devas tasthur yesam na samyuge | 

sum adlnam ka am tesam strT prayasyasi sammukham j[ 125 

sa tvam gaccha mayai vokta parsvam sumbha nisum ayoh | 
kesa karsana nirdhuta gaurava ma gamisyasi || 126 

devyuvaca || 127 

evametad ballsumoho nisumbhas cati vTryavan [ 
kirn karomi pratijna me yadana locita pura || 128 

sa tvam gac a mayoktam te yadetat sarva madrtah | 
tada caksva surendraya sa ca yuktam karotu tat || 129 

om 



62 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 

chapter 6 



The Slaying of Dhumralochana 

humkarenaiva tarn bhasma sacakarambika tatah 1 3 

The Goddess reduced the demon to ashes by a mere heave of her breath 

(humkara) 



dhyanam 



om naga Tsvara vistaram phani phanot tarpsoru ratnavall 
bhasvad dehalatarp diva karani am netra trayod.bl asitam 
mala kumbha.kapala nlrajakaram candrar dhacuDam param 
sarva jnesvara bhairavah-kanilayarp padmavatTrp cintaye || 



orn aim hnm khm padmavati candikaye vicce namah 



orn namascandikayai 
orn rsiruvaca || 1 

ityakarnya vaco devyah sa duto 'marsa puritah | 
samacasta sama gamya daitya rajaya vistarat || 2 

tasya dutasya tadvakya makarnya surarat tatah | 
sakrodhah praha daityana madhipam dhumralocanam || 

he dhumralocanasutvarp svasainya parivaritah | 
tamanaya balad dustarn kesa karsana vihvalam || 4 

tatpari tranadah kascid yadi vottisthate'parah | 

sa hantavyo'maro vapi yakso gandharva eva va || 5 

rsiruvaca || 6 

tena jhaptas tatah sigh ram sa daitvo umralocanah | 
vrtah sastya sahasranam asuranam drutam yayau || 7 

sa drstva tarn tato devTm tuhinacala sams itam [ 
jagadoccaih prayahTtT mulam sum a nisumbhayoh || 

na cet prltyadya avatl madbhartaram upaisyati | 
tato balan nayamyesa kesa karsana vihvalam || 9 

devyuvaca || 10 

daitye svarena prahito balavan balasamvrtah | 

balan nayasi mamevarp tatah kirn te karomyaham || 1 1 

rsiruvaca || 12 



ityuktah so'bhyadha vatta masuro dhumralocanah | 
hum kare naivatam bhasma sa cakarambika tatah || 13 

atha kruddham mahasainya masuranam tathambika | 
vavarsa sayakai stlksnais tatha sakti parasvadhaih || 14 

tato dhutasatah kopat krtva nadam subhairavam | 
papata sura senayam simho devyah sva-vahanah || 15 

kamscit kara praharena daitya nasyena caparan | 
akramya cadhare-nanyan sa jaghana mahasuran || 16 

kesahcit patayamasa nakhaih kosthani kesarT | 
tatha tala praharena siramsi krtavan prthak || 17 

vie inna bahu sirasah krtastena tathapare | 

papau ca rudhiram kostha danyesam dhuta kesarah || 18 

ksanena tadbalam sarvarp ksayarn nltarn mahatmana | 
tena kesarina devya vahanenati kopina || 19 

srutva tamasuram devya nihatam dhumralocanam | 
balarn ca ksayitam krtsnam devT kesarina tatah || 20 

cukopa daitya-dhipatih sumbhah pras phurita dharah | 
ajhapa yamasa ca tau canDa munDau mahasurau || 21 

he canDa he munDa balair bahubhih parivaritau [ 
tatra gacchata gatva ca sasamanT yatam lahgu || 22 

kesesva-krsya baddhva va yadi vah samsayo yudhi | 
tada sesa yudaih sarvair asurair vinihanyatam || 23 

tasyarn hatayam dustayam sirnhe ca vinipatite | 

sTghra magam yatam bad va grhTtva ta mat ambikam || 

orn 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 

chapter 7 



The slaying of Chanda and Munda 

Chanda represents (Pra-vrtti) and Munda (Ni-vrtti) both outward and inward movements 
of citta vrttis. 



dhyanam 



om dhyayeyam ratna plthe sukakala pa itam srnvatirn sya malahglrh 
nya stai kahghrirp saroje sasi sakala-dharam 
vallaklm vada.yantlm | 

kahla rabad-dhamalarp niya mita vilasac colikarp rakta vastram 
matatigTm san a patram madhura • mad hu- madam 
citrakod-bhasi-bhalam || 

om aim hrlm kITm rajamatahglcandikaye vicce namah 




65 



om namascandikayai 
orp rsi ruvaca || 1 

ajnap taste tato daityas can Da munDa purogamah | 
caturahga balopeta yayu rabhyudya tayu ah || 2 

dadrsuste tato devT misaddhasarp vya vas itam | 
sirphas yopari sailendra-srhge mahati kancane || 3 

te drstva tarn sama datu mudyamam cakru-rudyatah | 
akrsta capa sid haras tat hanye tat samlpagah || 4 

tatah koparp caka roccair ambika tanarln prati | 
kopena casya vadanam masl varnama bhuttada || 5 

bhrukutl kutilat tasya lalata phalakad drutam | 
kali karala vadana vinis-krantasi pasinT || 6 

vicitra khatvah-gadhara naramala vibhusana | 

dvlpi carma parTdhana suskamarp sati bhairava || 7 

ativistara vadana jihva lalana-bhTsana | 

nimagna rakta nayana nadapurita dihmukha || 8 

sa vege na ipatita atayantl mahasuran | 
sainye tatra suranna- mabha-savata tadbalam || 9 

parsni grahah kusagrahi yodha ghanta samanvitan | 
sama dayaika hastena mukhe ciksepa varanan || 10 

tathaiva yodharp turagai ratharp sarathina saha | 
niksipya vaktre dasanais carva yantyati bhairavam || 1 1 

ekarp jagraha kesesu grlva yamatha caparam | 
padena kramya caivanya murasanya mapothayat |j 12 



tairmuktani ca sastrani mahastrani tathasuraih | 
mukhena jagra harusa dasanair ma i tanyapi || 13 

balinam tadbalam sarva masuranam duratmanam | 
mamarda bhaksayac canyan anyamsca taDayat tatha || 14 

asina nihitah kecit kecit khatvahga taDitah | 

jagmur vinasam asura danta grabhi hatas ta a || 15 

ksanena tadbalam sarva masuranam nipatitam | 
drstva canDo'bhidudrava tarn kallmati bhTsanam || 16 

saravarsair maha bhlmair bhlmaksTm tarn mahasurah [ 
chada yamasa cakrai sea munDah ksiptaih sahasrasah || 1 

tani cakran yanekani visamanani tanmukham \ 
babhur-yatharka bimbani subahuni ghanodaram || 18 

tato jahasa tirusa bhTmarp bhairava nadinl | 

kali karala vaktrantar durdarsa dasanoj jvala || 19 

utthaya ca mahasirpharp devi canDa ma avata | 
grhltva casya kesesu sirastena sinac inat || 20 

atha munDo'bhya-dhavattarp drstva canDarn nipatitam [ 
tamapya patayad bhumau sakhaDqa bhihatam rusa || 21 

hatasesam tatah sainyarp drstva canDarn nipatitam | 
munDarp ca sumahavlryarp diso bheje bhayaturarp j| 22 

siras canDasya kali ca grhltva munDameva ca | 

praha pracanDat tahasa misrama-bhyetya canDikam || 23 

maya tavatro pahrtau canDa munDau mahapasu | 

yuddha yajhe svayarp sumbharp nisumbharp ca hanisyasi || 



rsiruvaca || 25 



tavanitau tato drstva canDa munDau mahasurau [ 
uvaca kalTm kalyanT lalitam candlka vacah || 26 

yas mac can Dam ca munDam ca grhTtva tvamupagata | 
camundeti tato loke khyata devi bhavisyasi || 27 

om 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 

chapter 8 



The Slaying of Raktabija 

Raktabija is symbolic of citta vrrtis or thought process. Each vrtti leads to one more as thoughts 
multiply in geometric progression. Whenever a drop of blood falls to earth, another demon of 
identical size and strength springs up. 



And for the sake of the well-being of the supreme gods, very valorous and powerful 
saktis, having sprung forth from the bodies of Brahma, Siva, Skanda, Vishnu and Indra, 
and having the form of each, approached Candika. 




macchastra pata sambhutan raktabindhun mahasuran | 
raktabindhoh pratTccha tvam vaktrenanena vegina 
With this mouth (Kali) quickly take in the drops of blood produced by 
the fall of my weapons and the great Asuras generated out of the 
drops of blood. 



68 



Desire and cravings are the source of all suffering. Desire is a mental activity, or thoughts and 
known as citta vrrtis. 

The best method is to overcome the first desire, the thought, rather than having to fight a 
thousand more. Conquering this original desire will release us from this endless cycle of desire, 
which leads to the cycle of gratification and sorrow when these desires are not fulfilled. 

Tantra refers to "Ashta Pasha" or eight nooses . ghR A iNA (aversion), lajjA (shame), bhaya (fear), 
sha~NkA (doubt), jugupsA (disgust), kula (attachment to a group based on activity), jAti 
(attachment to a group based on birth) and shlla (good character and modesty!!). Kalika destroys 
the eight nooses so that one can be liberated. 

The eight pashas (nooses) do not necessarily block all purusharthas, but block one from moksha. 
For example, aversion (ghR A iNA) to some things (e.g. aversion to some evil people or aversion to 
some foods etc) is perfectly fine and one can do great dharmik things despite aversion to some 
things. Shame and fear of being calling a bad person may make one do good dharmik things in 
the world. So shame, fear, aversion etc. may also not stop one from dharma. 

However, if any sense of shame or fear or aversion to anything is left, one cannot be liberated. The 
pashas are strictly in the context of moksha (liberation). They are what block one from liberation. 
They are associated with moksha. The eight pashas need to be destroyed for one to get there! 

8 types of demons are described as coming to war with the Mother (Kalakeyas, mouryas etc). 
They stand for these 8 pashas. 

The shadripus or 6 internal enemies (kaama - desires, kridha - anger, lobha - greed, moha - 
delusion, mada - wantonness, matsarya - jealosy) block one from doing one's dharma (righteous 
duty) and other purusharthas. They cloud one's judgment and may make one do adharma. 

The Ashta Pasha 

One cannot understand liberation without first understanding what binds one. Liberation is 
overcoming what binds one. What binds us and what limits our thinking? The eight bondages/ 
nooses (ashta pashas) are what bind us. The six enemies (shadripus) are what fight us as we try 
to loosen the nooses). 

As per Tantra philosophy there are 8 bondages/chains which bind soul to the Maya. These 
bondages are Ghrina (Hate), Lajjaa (Shame), Bhaya (Fear, shankaa(Doubt), Jugupsaa(censure/ 
reproach), Kula (caste), Jaati(creed) and Sheela (Modesty). Any consciousness which is bound by 
these 8 bondages is called Jiva (Individual soul) and the consciousness who is free from all these 
chains is called Sadashiva (Universal consciousness - Free soul/God). 

In Chapter 8 of Durga Saptshati, when Demons Chanda and Munda died, Shumbha the demon 
king becomes angry and ordered his army to start attacking. He cries ," O demons, I order all 



armies of Asuras alongwith 86 Udyudhas, 84 Kambus, 50 Kotiviryas, 100 Dhomras, Kalakas, 
Dauhrids, Mauryas and Kalkeya demons to march for war. 

Here Durga Saptshati reveals a great secret of Tantra and that of Universe and Maya. Demon 
Shumbha which represents our EGO names 8 types of demons to win over Good. These 8 types 
of demons in fact, signify the Ashtapasha which bind a person to Maya. 

These 8 bondages have been reflected as 8 demon types in Saptshati and when Jiva invokes 
Mother Shakti, SHE fights these demons in us and breaks the bondages created by these Asuras 
and makes us free ...a Sadashiva !! 

The Chief demon Shumbha (depicting our Ego) is dependent on 8 demons to win the war and he 
would cease to be powerful when his army is killed. Similarly Ego will cease to be once these 8 
bondages are removed. Now let us look into details what these chains are. 

1- ghR A iNA (hatred /aversion) : Hate is depicted by demon Udayudha. when Shumbha says 86 
Udayudhas be ready, it tells us about the 86 types of hatered which aid our Ego and keeps us 
away from divinity. Hatered is a double edged sword. It not only forces us not to love someone it 
also nourishes our Ego telling it that it is better than the subject being hated. Ego can hate in 86 
ways thus there are 86 Udayudha demons. Ten organs and Four Antakarnas, these fourteen 
generate hate towards four types of living beings (trees, reptiles/insects, animals and humans). 
Thus ego has total 56 types of hatered in waking state. In dream state, organs are missing hence 4 
antahkarnas generate this hate for 4 types of living beings.... and in dreamless state ego has 10 
organs and 4 anthakarans thus all total making 86 types of hatered. These demons keep the ego 
satisfied and powerful. Mother shakti when evoked, kills these 86 hates and frees our Ego from 
one bondage called Hatered. 

2- Lajjaa (Shame) : This bondage has been depicted by Kambu demons. Kambu is also a word for 
Conch signifying the animal who hides behind the hard shell to protect himself from others. Here 
Shame or hiding oneself from one's weakness and keeping away from others to save one's self- 
respect. This is also a sort of bondage on the soul. Soul hides itself behind 6 bodies and 1 
organs and 4 antahkarnas, hence making its number as 84. Here Durga Saptashati very bravely 
declares that these demons too are manifestations of Mother only, when it sings (in 5th chapter) 

Yaa Devi sarva Bhuteshu Lajjaa rupen sansthhitaa 

Namastasaye namastasaye namstasaye namoh namah 

(The Mother who manifests in all jiva as Lajja please accept my respects) 

But to liberate ourselves into universal consciousness, this bondage has to be removed. 

3- Bhaya (Fear ) : This third bondage is depicted by demon Kautivirya. Fear of death, fear of losing 
respect or nears and dears keeps the ego busy in Maya and hinders its way towards greater 
awareness. Durga Saptashati says Kautivirya is numbered 50. 10 organs and 5 koshas of body are 
the place where fear is generated thus making the number 50 of Kautivirya demons. 

4 - Shankaa (Doubt) : this fourth bondage is shown as Dhaumra demon. All the doubts arise due 
to distorted or false knowledge. Our 10 organs and 10 mahabhutas (earth, water, air, fire, ether - 5 



69 



in gross and 5 in subtle plane) are their solace hence Shumbha calls for 1 00 dhaumra demons to 
win the war. 

Doubt keeps the ego busy thus keeping it entangled in Maya. 

5- Jugupsa (censure/reproach/disgust) : When due to false knowledge we see others as different 
from us, we censure others to prove us right. This too is treated as fifth bondage of the Soul, they 
are also of 100 types as in above para. 

6- kula (caste / attachment to a group based on activity) : Dauhadri demon denotes proud of being 
related to one's birth. Even after listening to Brahma Gyana many times, this bondage of birth 
pride does not leave us. Only Mother's kindness can kill this demon and free us from this chain. 
They are also of 1 00 types. 

7 - Jaati (creed / attachment to a group based on birth) : Demon Kalkeya denotes it. Due to false 
knowledge, Jiva is proud of his body being special (e.g. human body, white or black) This bondage 
is very powerful and no theroetical knowledge of God can remove this. Human souls is re-born 
again and again mainly due to this bondage. They are also of 100 types 

8- sheela (Modesty and good character) : This bondage is denoted by demon Maurya. The 
modesty means Nature of Jiva, an idea Jiva makes about himself and the universe during the 
course of his many births. This bondage is also called Rudra-Granthi. Even after attaining the 
higher stages of spirituality, one is not free from this bondage and only removal of this bondage 
one is established into Advaita (union with god). 

An example of shri Ramakrishna paramhansa will further explain this bondage. When Guru 
Totapuri met paramhansa to teach him about Advaita, and asked him to sit in samadhi, shri 
Paramhansa saw Mother Kali only. Then guru Totapuri ordered paramhansa to take an imaginary 
sword and cut the throat of Mother Kali... Paramhansa was so fond of Mother Kali that he could 
not do it many times and finally when he did that, he was lost into Nirvikalpa samadhi a state of 
highest consciousness. So removal of this bondage is not easy. Only god or a god-sent guru can 
remove this final Bondage from Jiva. 

Without removing these 8 bondages, Jiva can not know his real self. People may try to do many 
types of sadhna, but these sadhnas sometimes further strengthen the bondages. We have to 
remember one thing there that Moksha and bondages both are in fact imaginary. Getting out of 
bondages, one would find that there was nothing called Moksha or bondage and one was already 
free. 

Then what is the way out to get ourselves free from these pashas? It is not easy to get rid of these 
Pashas. 

In B.Geeta Bhagwan Krishna says :- 

Vishaya vinivartantey nirahaarasya dehina (The abstemious embodied self, of course, keeps off 
sensible objects, but not necessarily the relish for them.) 



Is it easy to remove these 8 chains (divided into 720 types) so easily? What is the way out then? 
YES there is one way. Complete surrender to the Mother. If we, like Paramhansa present our whole 
being to the Mother, we will see that these demons come forward and present themselves to the 
Mother for sacrifice on the altar of our Yajna of Bhakti and liberate our soul towards greater truths. 

To begin with, we have first to leave our cunningness, selfishness and our false pride and 
surrender unconditionally to the Mother and request her to break our chains. Mother will not listen 
to our request if we first not purify ourselves . Lord Rama says in Ramcharitmanas. 

Nirmal guni jan so mohi pawa 
Mohi kapat chhal chhidra na bhava 

Pious and purifed souls reach me 

Because I do not like cunningness, selfishness and pride 

So let us begin today on the eve of Durga Ashtami with no prejudice... with no pride and with 
complete surrender... 

Aum Krin Kalikaye namah 
Hah Aum 

by Jatinder pal Sandhu 



It is really surprising that even modesty could be a hindrance to mukti. 

To understand this you must remember the fact that Advaita posits a Nirguna Brahman(An 
attribute- 1 ess Brahman). Thus to realize an IDENTITY with The One that is "attribute-less" one has 
TO BE attribute-less; since as jlvAtmas we are bound in the guNas, we need to "emulate" 
nirguNa-hood! 

That is why even a 'guna' like modesty or good character is an impediment! 

It may be surprising but the example of Totapuri asking Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to sever 
the head of Kali is encouraging him to renounce the last vestiges of saguna bhava worship which 
he was practicing. In Tantra the movement from saguna to nirguna for reaching Advaitic Oneness 
is done with shocking actions. Totapuri might have assessed Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's 
ripeness for jlvanmukti which is possible only after you move on to nirguNa-brahman! So, he has 
given this "shock-treatment" for from the vantage point of aham-brahmasmi which is the 
jlvanmukta's state no attributes are to be left. Aren't we talking about the distinction between 
knower-known-the process of knowing-knowledge. 

by Sh. Mahadeva-Ji 



70 



dhyanam 



orp arunarp karuna-tarahgi-takslrp 
dhrta pasari kusa bana capa hastam | 
animadi-bhira vrtarp mayukhair 
ahamit yeva vibhavaye bhavarimn || 

orp aim hrTrn kllrp bhavani candikaye vicce namah 



orp namascandikayai 
orp rsiruvaca || 1 

canDe ca nihate daitye munDe ca vinipatite | 
bahulesu ca sainyesu ksayitesva suresvarah || 2 

tatah kopa paradhlna cetah sumbhah pratapavan | 
udyogarp sarva sainyanarn daityanam adidesa ha || 

adya sarva balair daityah saDa sTti rudayudhah | 
kambunarp catura sTtir niryantu svabalair vrtah |[ 4 

koti vlryani pahcasad asuranarp kulani vai | 

satarp kulani aumranarp nirgacchantu mamajhaya 

kalaka daurhrda mauryah kala keyas ta asurah | 
yuddhaya sap niryantu ajhaya tvarita mama || 6 

itya jha pyasura patih sumbho bhairava sasanah | 
nirjagama mahasainya sahasrair bahubhir-vrtah || 7 

ayantarp canDika drstva tat sainyam atibhTsanam [ 
jya svanaih purayamasa dharanTgaganan taram || 8 

tatah sirpho mahanada-matlva krtavan nrpa | 
ghanta svanena tannadam ambika copa brrphayat |] 



dhanurjya sirpha ghantanam nada purita dihmukha | 
ninadair bhTsanaih kali jigye vista ritanana || 10 

tarn ninada-mupasrutya daitya sainyai scaturdisam | 
devT sirnhas tatha kali sarosaih parivaritah || 11 

etas minan tare bhupa vinasaya suradvisam | 
bhavayamara sirphana mativTrya balanvitah || 12 

brahmesa guha visnunam ta en drasya ca saktayah | 
sarlrebhyo viniskramya tadrupais canDikam yayuh || 13 

yasya devasya yadruparp yatha bhusana vahanam | 
tadva deva hi tac aktir asuran yoddhu mayayau || 14 

harpsayukta vimanagre saksa sutra kamanDaluh | 
ayata brahmanah saktir brahman! sabh id hTyate || 15 

mahesvarT vrsaruDha trisula varadharinT [ 
mahahivalaya prapta candra rekha-vibhusana || 16 

kaumarT sakti hasta ca mayura vara vahana | 
yoddhumabhya yayau daityan ambika guharupinT || 17 

tathaiva vaisnavl saktir garuDopari sams ita | 
sahkhacakra gada sarhga khaDga hasta bhyupa yayau || 1 

yajha varaha matulam ruparp ya bibhrato hareh | 
saktih sapya yayau tatra varahlrp bibhratT tanum || 1 9 

narasirphl nrsirn hasya bibhratT sadrsarp vapuh [ 
prapta tatra sata ksepa ksipta naksatra sarpnatih || 20 

vajra hasta ta ai vaindrT gajarajo pari sthita | 

prapta sahasra nayana ya a sakras tathaiva sa || 21 

tathah pari vrtastabhir Tsano deva saktibhih | 

hanyantam asurah sigh ram mama prTtyaha candTkarp || 22 



tato devi sanrattu viniskrantatibhisana | 
canDika saktir atyugra siva sata ninadinl || 23 

sa caha d h umra jatilam Tsanam aparajita | 

duta tvarp gaccha bhagavan parsvam sumbha nisumfahayoh || 24 

bruhi sumbham nisumbham ca danavavati garvitau | 
ye canye danavas tatra yuddhaya samupasthitah || 25 

trailokya mindro labhatam devah santu havir bhujah [ 
yuyam prayata patalam yadi jTvitu mice hat ha || 26 

balavale padatha ced bhavanto yuddha-kah-ksinah | 
tada gac ata trpyantu mac ivah pisitena vah || 27 

yato niyukto dautyena taya devya sivah svayam | 
sivadutlti loke'smim statah sa khyati magata || 28 

te'pi srutva vaco devyah sarva khyatam mahasurah | 
amarsa purita jagmur yatra katyayanls ita || 29 

tatah prathamam evagre sara sak-tyrsti vrstibhih | 
vavarsurud dhata marsas tarn devi mama rarayah || 30 

sa ca tan prahitan banah chula sakti parasvadhan | 
ciccheda ITIayadh-mata-dhanur muktair mahesubhih |[ 31 

tasya gratas tatha kali sulapata vidaritan | 

khatvahga pothitam scarln kurvatl vyacarat tada || 32 

kamandalu jala ksepa hata vlryan hatau jasah | 
brahman! cakaroc chatrun yena yena sma dhavati || 33 

mahesvantrisulena tatha cakrena vaisnavl [ 

daityah jaghana kaumarT tatha sak tyati kopana || 34 

aindrT kulisa patena sataso daitya danavah | 

petur vidaritah prthvyam rudhi-raugha pravarsinah || 35 



tunDa prahara vidhvasta damstragra ksata vaksasah | 

varaha murtya nyapatam scakrena ca vidaritah || 36 

nakhair-vidari tam scanyan bhaksayantT mahasuran j 
narasimhlcacarajau nadapurna digambara || 37 

canDat tahasai rasurah siva dutyabhi dusitah | 

petuh prthivyam patitam - stam-scakha -datha sa tada || 38 

iti matrganam kruddham marda yantam mahasuran | 
drstva bhyu payair vividhair nesur deva risai nikah || 39 

palayana paran drstva daityan matr ganarditan | 
yoddhu-mabhya yayau kruddho raktabljo mahasurah || 40 

raktabindur yada bhumau patat yasya sarlratah | 
samut patati medinyam tat pramanas tadasurah || 41 

yuyudhe sa gada panir indra saktya mahasurah | 
tata scaindrlsva vajrena raktablja mataDayat || 42 

kulisena hatasyasu bahu susrava sonitam | 

samuttas-thus tato yodhas tadrupas-tat parakramah || 43 

yavantah pati tas tasya sarTrad rakta bindavah | 
tavantah purusa jatas tadvlrya bala vikramah || 44 

te capi yuyudhus tatra purusa rakta sam avah | 
samam matrbhir atyugra sastra patati bhTsanam || 45 

punasca vajra patena ksatamasya siro yada | 
vavaha raktam purusas tato jatah sahasrasah || 46 

vaisnavl samare cainam cakrenabhi jaghana ha | 
gadaya taDayamasa aindrT tamasuresvaram || 47 



72 



vaisnavi cakra-bhinnasya rudhira-srava sambhavaih j 
sahasraso jagad vyaptam tat pramanair mahasuraih || 48 

saktya jag h ana kauman varahlca tathasina | 
mahesvari" trisulena raktabijam mahasuram || 49 

sa capi gadaya daityah sarva evahanat prthak | 
matfh kopa sama visto raktabljo mahasurah || 50 

tasya hatasya bahu a sakti suladi-bhir bhuvi | 
papata yo vai raktau ghas tenasan chataso 'surah || 51 

tais casura srksam-bhutair asuraih sakalam jagat | 
vyaptam aslt tato deva bhayama jagmur uttamam || 52 

tan visannan suran drstva canDika praha satvara | 
uvaca kallm camunDe vistlrnarn vadanarn kuru || 53 

macchastra pata sam utan rakta bindhun mahasuran | 
raktabindoh pratlccha tvam vaktre nanena vegina || 54 

bhaksayantlcara rane tadut pannan mahasuran | 
evamesa ksayam daityah ksTna rakto gamisyati || 55 

bhaksya-manas tvaya cogra nacot pat syanti capare | 
ityuktva tarn tato devi" sulenabhi jaghana tarn || 56 

mukhena kalljagrhe raktablja sya sonitam | 

tato 'sava jaghanat ha gadaya tat ra can Dikam || 57 

na casva vedanam cakre gadapatol pikamapi | 
tasya hatasya dehattu bahu susrava sonitam || 58 

yatas tatas tad vaktrena camunDa sam praticchati | 
mukhe samud gata ye'sya rakta patan mahasurah || 59 

tarn scakha datha camunDa papau tasya ca sonitam | 
devlsulena vajrena banai-rasibhir rstibhih || 60 



jaghana raktabijam tarn camunDa pita sonitam | 
sapapata mahlprsthe sastra sang ha samahatah || 61 

nlraktasca mahTpala raktabljo mahasurah | 
tataste harsa-matulam avapus tridasa nrpa || 62 

tesam matrgano jato nanartasrh madoddhatah || 63 

om 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 



chapter 9 




The Slaying of Nishumbha 

Nishumbha represents the attachment (mamata) to body, mind, possessions, family and 
social roles, group affiliations, identity and beliefs too, among other adjuncts (upadhis). 
Nishumbha represents the attachment to all its objective attributes; the concept of 'me', 
'mine', 'my' children, spouse, or family. 

This sense of attachment leads to the misidentification of the true Self. 



dhyanam 



orp ban u kakancana-nibham ruci raksa malarn 
pasan kusau ca varadarn nijabahu danDaih | 
bibhrana mindu sakala-bharanarp trinetram 
ardhambike samanisam vapura srayami || 

orp aim hrlrp kllrp ar ambika candikaye vicce namah 



om namascandikayai 
om rajovaca || 1 

vicitramida makhyatam agavan bhavata mama | 
devyas carita mahatmyam raktablja vadhasritam || 2 

bhuyascec c amyaham srotum raktablje nipatite | 
cakara sumbho yatkarma nisum as cati kopanah || 3 

rsiruvaca || 4 

cakara kopa matulam raktablje nipatite | 

sum asuro nisum asca hatesvanyesu cahave || 5 

hanyamanam mahasainyam vilokya marsa mudvahan | 
abhya-dhavan nisumbho'tha mukhya yasura senaya || 6 

tasyagratas tatha prste parsva yosca mahasurah | 
samdas-taustha putah krud a hantum devT-mupayayuh | 

ajagama mahavlryah sumbho' pi svabalair vrtah | 
nihantum canDikam kopat krtva yuddham tu matrbhih [| 

tato yuddha-matlvasld devya sumbha nisumbhayoh ( 
saravarsa matl vogram megha-yoriva varsatoh || 9 

cicche dastan charam sta yam canDika svasarot karaih 
taDayamasa cahgesu sastraughai rasuresvarau || 10 

nisumbho nisitam khaDgam carma cadaya suprabham | 
ata Dayan murdhni simham devya vahanamuttamam || 1 

taDite vahane devT ksura prenasimuttamam | 
nisumbhas yasu ciccheda carma capyasta candrakam || 

chinne carmani khaDge ca saktim ciksepa so'surah [ 
tamapyasya dvi a cakre cakre-nabhi-mukha gatam [[ 1 



kopadh-mato nisumbho'tha sulam jagraha danavah | 
ayatam musti patena devltaccapya curnayat || 14 

avidhyatha gadam so' pi ciksepa canDikam prati | 
sapi devya trisulena bhinna bhasma tvamagata || 15 

tatah parasu hastarh ta-mayantarh daitya puhgavam | 
ahatya devT banaughair-apatayata utale || 16 

tasmin nipatite bhumau nisumbhe bhTma vikrame | 
bhratar-yatlva samkruddhah prayayau hantum ambikam || 17 

sa rathas-thas tathat yuccair grhlta parama yudhaih | 
bhujair astabhir atulair vyapya sesam ba au nabhah || 18 

tamayantam samalokya devT sahkha-mavadayat | 

jya sabdam capi dhanusas cakaratTva duhsaham || 19 

purayamasa kakubho nija-ghanta svanena ca | 
samasta daitya sainyanam tejo vadha-vidhayina || 20 

tatah simho mahanadais tyajitebha mahamadaih | 
purayamasa gaganam gam tathaiva diso dasa || 21 

tatah kali samut patya gaganam ksma mataDayat | 
karabi^ yam tanni nadena praksva naste tirohitah || 22 

attat tahasa masivam sivadutT cakara ha | 

taih sabdai rasuras tresuh sumbhah kopam param yayau || 23 

duratmam stistha tistheti vyajaha rambika yada | 
tada jayetya ihitam devai rakasa samsthitaih || 24 

sumbhena gatya ya saktir mukta jvalati-bhTsana | 
ayantl vahni kutabha sa nirasta maholkaya || 25 

simhanadena sum asya vyaptam loka trayan taram | 
nirghatanih svano ghoro jitavana vanlpate || 26 

75 



sumbha muktan charandevi sumbhastat prahitan charan | 
cic eda svasarairugraih sataso'tha sahasrasah || 27 

tatah sa canDika kruddha sulenabhi jaghana tarn | 

sa tada -bhihato bhumau murcchito nipapata ha || 28 

tato nisum ah samprapya cetana matta karmukah | 
ajaghana sarair devirp kallrp kesarinarh tat ha || 29 

punasca krtva bahuna mayutarp danujesvarah | 
cakra yudhena ditijas chadayamasa canDikam || 30 

tato bhagavatT kruddha durga durgarti nasinl | 
ciccheda tani cakrani svasaraih sayakamsca tan || 31 

tato nisumbho vegena gadamadaya canDikam | 
abhya-dhavata vai hantum daitya sena samavrtah || 32 

tasya patata evasu gadam ciccheda canDika | 
khaDgena sita-dharena sa ca sulam samadade || 33 

sula hastam samayantarn nisum a mamarardanam | 
hrdi vivyadha sulena vega viddhena canDika [| 34 

bhinnasya tasya sulena hrdayan nihsrto'parah | 
mahabalo mahavlryas tistheti puruso vadan || 35 

tasya niskramato devT prahasya svanavat tatah | 
siras ciccheda khaDgena tato 'savapatad-bhuvi || 36 

tatah simhas cakha dogram damstrak sunna sirodharan | 
asuram stams ta a kallsivadutlta a paran || 37 

kaumarlsakti nir innah kecin nesur mahasurah ] 
brahman! mantra putena toyenanye nirakrtah || 38 

mahesvarltrisulena bh innah petu stathapare | 
varahi tunda ghatena kecic curnl krta bhuvi || 39 



khandam khandam ca cakrena vaisnavya danavah krtah | 
vajrena caindrT hastagra vimuktena ta apare || 40 

kecid vine surasurah kecinnasta mahahavat | 
bhaksita scapare kallsivadutlmrgadhipaih || 41 



om 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 

chapter 10 



The Slaying of Shumbha 

Shumbha denotes the ego, the false sense of self, the limited self. 

The Self (Atman) is not the same as non-self (anatman). It is ignorance that gives rise to 

the mistaken identify that the non-self is identical to the Self. 

Devi kills by piercing the asura with Her spear of knowledge (gnana). The death of the 
limited ego leads to the relinquishing of a limited identity, and gaining the realisation of 
the true Self. 



dhyanam 



orp uttap tahema ruciram ravi candra vahni 
netrarp dhanus sara yutaii.kusa pasa sulam | 
ramyair bhujaisca dadhatTrp siva sakti rupam 
kamesvanrp hrdi-bhajami dhrten dule am || 

orp aim hrlrn kITm kamesvarlcandikaye vicce naman 



om namascandikayai 
om rsiruvaca || 1 

nisumbham nihatarp drstva bhratararp prana sammitam | 
hanyamanam balarp caiva sum an kruddho'bravld vacah 

balavalepad duste tvarp ma durge garvamavaha | 
anyasam balama sritya yuddhyase yati maninT || 3 

devyuvaca || 4 

ekaivaham jagat yatra dvitlya ka mamapara | 
pasyaita dusta mayyeva visantyo madvibhutayah || 5 

tatah samasta sta devyo brahmanl pramukha layam | 
tasya devyas tanau jagmur ekaivasit tadambika || 6 

devyuvaca || 7 

aham vibhutya bahubhir iha rupair yada st ita | 
tatsamhrtam mayaikaiva tistham yajau sthiro bhava || 8 

rsiruvaca || 9 

tatah pravavrte yuddharp devyah sum asya cobhayoh \ 
pasyatarp sarva devanam asuranarp ca darunam || 10 

saravarsaih sitaih sastrais tat ha strais caiva darunaih | 
tayor yuddha mabhudhuyah sarva loka bhayahkaram || 

divyan yastrani sataso mumuce yan yat ambika | 
babhahja tani daityendras tatpratlghata kartrbhih || 12 

muktanTtena castrani divyani paramesvarT | 
babhahja ITIayai vogra huhkaroc carana dibhih |[ 13 



tatah sara satair devi mac a dayata so'surah | 

sapi tat kupita devldhanus cic eda cesubhih || 14 

chinne dhanusi daityendras tatha sakti mathadade | 
ciccheda devi cakrena tamap yasya kare stl itam || 15 

tatah khaDga mupadaya satacandrarp ca b\ anumat | 
abhya-dhavat tada devlrp daityanam adhipesvarah || 16 

tasyapatata evasu aDgarp ciccheda canDika | 
dhanurmuktaih sitair banai scarma carka karamalam || 17 

hatasvah sa tada daityas inna-dhanva visarathih | 
jagraha mudgaram ghora mambika ni ihanod yatah || 18 

ciccheda patatas tasya mudgaram nisitaih saraih | 
tathapi so'bhya dhavattam musti mudvamya veqavan || 

sa mustim patayamasa hrdaye daitya puhgavah | 
devyastarp capi sa devltaleno rasya taDayat || 20 

tala prahara-bhihato nipapata mahltale | 

sa daitya rajah sahasa punareva tathot-thitah || 21 

utpatya ca pragr-hyoccair devlrp gaga nama s itah | 
tatrapi sa niradhara yuyudhe tena canDika || 22 

niyuddharp khe tada daitya scanDika ca parasparam | 
cakratuh prathamam sid iha muni vismaya karakam [| 23 

tato niyud am sucirarp krtva tenambika saha j 
utpatya bhramaya masa ciksepa dharanltale || 24 

sa ksipto dharanlrp prapya musti mudyamya vegitah | 
abhya-dhavata dustatma canDika nidhanec chaya || 25 

tamayantam tato devi sarva daitya janesvaram | 
jagatyam patayamasa ittva sulena vaksasi |[ 26 



sa gat asuh papatorvyam devi sula graviksatah [ 

calayan sakalam prthvlm sabdhi dvlpam saparvatam || 27 

tatah prasanna makhilam hate tasmin duratmani | 

jagat svas ya matlvapa nirmalam ca avan-nabhah || 28 

utpa tame ah solka ye pragasamste samam yayuh | 
sarito marga vahinyas tatha samstatra patite || 29 

tato devaganah sarve harsa nirbhara manasah | 
babhuvur nihate tasmin gandharva lalitam jaguh || 30 

avadayam stathai vanye nanrtu scapsaro ganah | 

vavuh punya sta a vatah suprabho'bhud divakarah || 31 

jajvalu sea gnayah santah santa digjani tas vanah || 32 

om 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 



chapter 11 



dhyanam 



orp balara vidyutim indu kirTtam 
tuhga kucam nayanatra yayuk tarn | 
smera mukhlm varadah kusa pasa bhTtikararp 
prab h aje b h uvaneslm 1 1 

orp aim hiTm kllrp bhuvaneswarlcandikaye vicce naman 



om namascandikayai 



om rsi ruvaca ]| 1 

devya hate tatra mahasurendre 
sendrah sura vahni puroga mastam | 
katyayanlrp tustuvurista lab had 
vikasi vaktrab javikasi tasah || 2 

devi prapannarti hare praslda 
praslda matar jagato'khilasya | 
praslda visvesvari pahi visvam 
tvamlsvarT devi caracarasya || 3 

adharabhuta jagatas tvameka 
mahTsvarupena yatah s itasi | 
apam svarupa sthitaya tvayaitad- 
apyayate krtsna malang hyavlrye || 4 

siddha mantra to obtain moksha, salvation 

tvarp vaisnavlsaktir anantavlrya 
visvasya bljam paramasi maya | 
sammohitam devi samastametat 
tvarp vai prasanna bhuvi mukti hetuh 5 

siddha mantra to obtain all skills and motherly affection 

vidyah samastastava devi bhedah 
striyah samastah sakala jagatsu | 
tvayaikaya purita mambayaitat 
ka te stutih stavyapara paroktih || 6 

siddha mantra to obtain salvation and heaven 

sarvabhuta yada devi svarga mukti pradayinT | 
tvam stuta stutaye ka va bhavantu paramoktayah 



siddha mantra to obtain deliverance and heaven 

sarvasya buddhi-rupena janasya hrdi sarpsthite | 
svarga pavargade devi narayani namo'stu te || 8 

kalakasthadi rupena parinama pradayini | 
visvasyo paratau sakte narayani namo'stu te || 9 

arati hymn (DM11.10.12) 

siddha mantra to obtain all around well being 

sarva mahgala mahgalye sive sarvartha sadhike | 
saranye tryambake gauri narayani namo'stu te || 10 

siddha mantra to obtain strength 

srsti-sthiti vinasanam saktibhute sanatani 
gunasraye gunamaye narayani namo'stu te || 11 

siddha mantra to eliminate personal calamity 

saranagata dlnarta paritrana parayane | 

sarvas yarti hare devi narayani namo'stu te || 12 

the 9 Shaktis (as different forms of Narayani) who fought the demons 

hamsayukta vimanasthe brahmanT rupa dharini | 
kausambhah-ksarike devi narayani namo'stu te || 13 

trisula candrahiclhare mahavrsabha vahini j 
mahesvan svarupena narayani namo'stu te || 14 

mayura kuk kutavrte mahasakti dhare'naghe | 
kaumarl rupa samsthane narayani namo'stu te || 15 

sankha cakra gada sarhga grhlta paramayuclhe | 
praslda vaisnavl rupe narayani namo'stu te || 16 

grhltogra mahacakre damstrod dhrta vasum-dhare | 
varaha rupinT sive narayani namo'stu te || 17 



8i 



nrsirpha rupenogrena hantum daityan krtodyame | 
trailokya trana sahite narayani namo'stu te || 18 

kirTtini mahavajre sahasra nayanojjvale | 

vrtra prana hare caindri narayani namo'stu te || 19 

sivadutT svarupena hata daitya mahabale | 
ghorarupe maharave narayani namo'stu te || 20 

damstra karala vadane siro mala vibhusane | 
camunDe munDa ma nane narayani namo'stu te || 21 

laksmi lajje mahavidye sraddhe pusti svadhe dhruve | 
maharatri mahamaye narayani namo'stu te || 22 

medhe sarasvati vare bhuti babhravi tamasi j 
niyate tvam prasldese narayani namo'stu te || 23 

siddha mantra for protection (protect us from danger) 

sarva svarupe sarvese sarvasakti samanvite | 
bhaye-bhyastrahi no devi durge devi namo'stu te | 24 

siddha mantra for protection (protect us from ghosts) 

etatte vadanam saumyam locana traya-bhusitam | 
patu nah sarva-bhTti-bhyah katyayani namo'stu te || 25 

siddha mantra for protection (protect us from danger) 

jvalakaralamatyugramasesasura sudanam | 
trisulam patu no bhlter bhadrakali namo'stu te | 26 

siddha mantra for protection 

- by following the procedures of Durga Dipadana and chanting the Shloka ' Hinasti daitya 
tejaamsi' accompanied with the ringing of the bell (ghaNTA vAdana), all evil spirits are 
destroyed. 

hinasti daitya tejamsi svanena purya ya jagat | 

sa ghanta patu no devi papebhyo nah sutaniva 27 



asura srg vasapahka carci taste karojjvalah | 

subhaya khaDgo bhavatu canDike tvam nata vayam || 28 

siddha mantra to eliminate personal illness. 

roganasesa napaharpsi tusta 
rusta tu kaman sakalan abhTstan | 
tvama sritanam na vipanna.ranam 
tvama.srita hya.srayatam prayanti || 29 

etat krtam yat kadanam tvayadya 
dharma dvisam devi mahasuranam | 
rupai ranekair bahu d atma murtim 
krtvambike tat prakaroti kanya || 30 

vidyasu sastresu vivekadlpe- 
svad yesu vakyesu ca ka tvadanya [ 
mamatva garte'ti mahan-dhakare 
vibhra mayat ye tadatlva visvam || 31 

siddha mantra to be safe from all turmoils (demons, serpents of poison, enemies) 

raksamsi yatro gravisasca naga 
yatra rayo dasyubalani yatra | 
davanalo yatra tathab dhimadye 
tatra st hita tvam pari pasi visvam || 32 

visvesvari tvam paripasi visvam 
visvat mika dharaya slti visvam j 
visvesa vandya bhavatT bhavanti 
visva srayaye tvayi akti nam rah || 33 

devi prasida paripalaya no'ribhiter- 
nityam yatha sura vadha -dadhu naiva sadyah | 
papani sarva jagatam prasamam nayasu 
utpata paka janitamsca mahopasargan || 34 

82 



siddha mantra to obtain happiness 

pranatanam praslda tvam devi visvartiharini | 
trailokya vasina rmTDye lokanam varada bhava || 35 

devyuvaca || 36 

varadaham suragana varam yanmana sec-chatha | 

tarn vmudhvam prayacchami jagata mupakarakam || 37 

devaucuh || 38 

siddha mantra to pacification of miseries in the triple world and destruction of our enemies 

sarva badha prasamanarn trailokya sya-k hi lesvari | 
evameva tvaya karya masmad vairi vinasanam || 39 

devyuvaca || 40 

vaivas- vate'ntare prapte asta vimsatime yuge | 

sumbho nisumbhas- cai vanya vutpat syete mahasurau || 41 

nanda gopa grhe jata yasoda garbha sambhava | 
tatastau nasa yisyami vindhya cala nivasinl || 42 

punarapyati raudrena rupena prthivTtale | 

avatlrya hani syami vaipra cittarpstu danavan || 43 

bhaksa yantya sea tanugran vaipracittan mahasuran | 
rakta danta bhavisyanti daDimlku sumopamah || 44 

tato mam devatah svarge martyaloke ca manavah | 
stuvanto vyahari syanti satatam rakta dantikam || 45 

bhuyasca satavar sikya mana vrstya mananrbhasi | 
muniohih samstuta umau sambha visyamya yonija j] 46 

tatah satena netranam nirlk-sisyami yanmunTn | 
klrta yisyanti manujah satakslmiti mam tatah |j 47 



tato'hamakhilam lokam atmadeha samud bhavaih [ 
bhari syami surah sakair avrsteh prana dharakaih || 48 

sakambharTti vikhyatim tada yasyam yaham uvi | 
tatraiva ca vadhi-syami durgamakhyam mahasuram || 49 

durga devlti vi yatam tanme nama bhavisyati | 

puna scaham yada bhTmam rupam krtva himacale || 50 

raksamsi bhaksa-yisyami munlnam trana karanat [ 

tada mam munayah sarve stosyantya namra murtayah || 51 

bhTma devfti vikr yatam tanme nama bhavisyati [ 
yadaruna-khyas trailokye mahaba am karisyati || 52 

tadaham bhramaram rupam krtva sahkhye yasat padam | 
trailokya sya hitarthaya vadhi-syami mahasuram || 53 

bhramarlti ca mam lokastada stosyanti sarvatah | 
ittham yada yada badha danavottha bhavisyati || 54 

tada tada vatlr yaham karisyam yari samksayam || 55 

om 



UTTARA CARITRASYA 



chapter 12 



The Devi said, "With a concentrated mind, whoever shall pray to me constantly with 
these hymns, I shall without doubt put an end to all his troubles- Whoever extols my 
deeds relating to the destruction of Madhu and Kaitabha, the killing of Mahishasura and 
likewise the slaughter of Shumbha and Nishumbha, whoever listens devotedly with a 
focused mind, to my glories sung in this Mahatmyam, on the eighth, the fourteenth and 
on the ninth days of the fortnight, to them nothing bad shall happen, nor calamities that 
arise from wrong doings nor poverty nor separation from beloved ones. Neither fear from 
enemies, robbers, kings, nor from weapons, fire and floods. Hence this, my Mahatmyam, 
must be chanted by those of concentrated minds and listened to constantly with 
devotion, for it is the supreme way to well-being". 



dhyanam 



orp vidyud damasamaprabharp mrgapati skandhasthitarp bhTsanarp 
kanyabhin karavalakheta vilasad-dhastabhira sevitam | 
hastai scakra gadasi kheta visikhamscapam gunarp 
tarjanTrp bibhranamanalatmikarp sasidhararp durgarn 
trinetrarp bhaje || 

orp aim hnrp kllrp agni durga candikaye vicce namah 



84 



om namascandikayai 



om devyuvaca || 1 

ebhih stavaisca mam nityam stosyate yah samahitah | 
tasyaham sakalam bad ham nasa yisyamya samsayam || 2 

ma u kaita a nasam ca mahisasura ghatanam | 
klrtayisyanti ye tadvad vadham sumbha nisum ayoh [| 3 

astamyam ca caturdasyam navamyam caikacetasah | 
srosyanti caiva ye bhaktya mama mahatmya muttamam || 4 

na tesam duskrtam kihcid duskrtot-tha nacapadah [ 
bhavisyati nadaridryam na caivesta viyojanam || 5 

satruto nabhayam tasya dasyuto va narajatah | 

na sast ranala toyau at kadacit sambhavisyati || 6 

tasman mamai tan mahatmyam pathi tavyam samahitaih | 
srotavyam ca sada aktya param svastya yanam hi tat || 7 

upasargana sesamstu mahamari samudbhavan | 

tatha trividha mutpatam mahatmyam sama yenmama [[ 8 

yatraitat pathyate samyah nitya-mayatane mama | 

sada natadvi moksyami samnidhyam tatra me sthitam || 9 

bali pradane pujayam agni karye mahotsave | 

sarvam mamaitac caritam uccaryam sravya meva ca || 10 

janata Janata vapi bali pujam tatha krtam | 

pratlc chisya myaham prltya vahni homam tatha krtam 1 1 

saratkale mahapuja kriyate ya ca varsikl | 

tasyam mamai tan mahatmyam srutva bhakti samanvitah [[ 12 



siddha mantra to obtain wealth and progeny; over riding all obstacles 

sarva badha vinir mukto dhana-dhanya sutanvitah 
manusyo mat prasadena bhavisyati nasamsayah || 13 

srutva mamaitan mahatmyam tatha cotpattayah subhah | 
para kramam ca yuddhesu jayate nirbhayah puman || 14 

ripavah samksayam yanti kalyanam copa padyate | 

nandate ca kulam pumsam mahatmyam mama srnvatam || 15 

santi karmani sarvatra tatha duhsvapna darsane | 
graha pTDasu cograsu mahatmyam srnu yanmama || 16 

upasargah samam yanti graha pTDasca darunah | 
duhsvapnam ca nrbhir-drstam su svapna mupajayate || 17 

bala grahabhi bhutanam balanam santi karakam | 
samgha tabhede ca nrnam maitrl karana- muttamam j| 18 

durvrt tana masesanam balahani karam param | 
rakso-bhuta pisacanam pathana deva nasanam || 19 

sarvam mamaitan mahatmyam mama sannidhi karakam | 

pasu puspar ghya-dhupaisca gandha dlpais tathot tamaih || 20 

vipranam bhojanair homaih proksa nTyair-aharnisam | 
anyaisca vivi d hair bhogaih pradanair vatsarena ya || 21 

prltirme kriyate sasmin sakrt sucarite srute [ 
srutam harati papani tatha rogyam prayacchati || 22 

raksam karoti bhute-bhyo janmanam klrtanam mama | 
yuddhesu caritam yanme dusta daitya nibar hanam || 23 

tasmih chrute vairi-krtam bhayam pumsam na jayate | 
yusmabhih stutayo yasca yasca brahmar-sibhih krtah || 24 



brahmana ca krtastastu prayacchanti subham matim | 
aranye prantare vapi davagni pari varitah || 25 

dasyu-bhirva vrtah sunye grhTto vapi satrubhih [ 
sirphav yaghranu yato va vane va vana hastibhih (| 26 

rajna kruddhena cajnapto vadhyo bandha gato'pi va | 
aghurnito va vatena s hitah pote maharnave || 27 

patatsu capi sastresu sarpgrame bhrsa darune | 
sarva badhasu ghorasu vedana-bhyar-dito'pi va || 28 

smaran mamaitac caritarp naro mucyeta sahkatat | 
mama prabhavat simhadya dasyavo vairinas tatha || 29 

duradeva palayante smaratas caritam mama || 30 

rsi ruvaca || 31 

ityuktva sa bhagavatT canDika can Da vikrama || 32 

pasyatameva devanam tatrai vantara-dhlyata | 
te'pi deva niratahkah svadhikaran yatha pura || 33 

yajna bhaga-bhujah sarve cakrur vinihata rayah | 
daityasca devya nihate sumbhe devaripau yudhi || 34 

jagad vidhvam sini tasmin mahogre'tula vikrame | 
nisumbhe ca mahavlrye sesah patalama yayuh || 35 

evam bhagavatT de visa nityapi punah punah | 
sam uya kurute bhupa jagatah paripalanam || 36 

tayaitan mohyate visvam saiva visvam prasuyate | 
sa yacita ca vijnanam tusta rddhim prayacchati || 37 

vyaptam tayaitat sakalam brahmanDam manujesvara | 
mahakalya mahakale mahamarlsvarupaya || 38 



saiva kale mahaman saiva srstir bhavat yaja | 
sthitim karoti bhutanam saiva kale sanatanT || 39 

bhavakale nrnam saiva laksmTr vrddhi-prada grhe | 
saiva b have tat ha- laksmTr vinasayo pajayate || 40 

stuta sampujita puspair dhupa gandha dibhis tatha | 
dadati vittam putramsca matim dharme gatim subham [| 41 

om 




UTTARA CARITRASYA 



chapter 13 



dhyanam 



orp balar kamandala-bhasarp 
caturbahurp trilocanam | 
pasah kusavara bhTtlr 
dharayantlm sivarp bhaje || 

orp aim hrlrp kllrp siva dharika paramesvarT srT vidya saptasatT 
candikaye vicce namah 



om namascandikayai 
om rsiruvaca || 1 

etat te kathitarp bhupa devT mahatmya muttamam 2 

evarp prabhava sa devT yayedarp dharyate jagat | 
vidyatathaiva kriyate bhagavad visnu mayaya || 3 

taya tvamesa vaisyasca tathaivanye vivekinah | 
mohyante mohita scaiva mohame syanti capare || 4 

tamu paihi maharaja saranam paramesvarTm | 
aradhita saiva nrnarp bhoga svarga pavargada || 5 

markanDeya uvaca || 6 

iti tasya vacah srutva surathah sa naradhipah || 7 

prani patya mahabhagam tamrsirp samsitavratam | 
nirvinno'tima matvena rajya pahara nena ca || 8 

jagama sadyas tapase sa ca vaisyo mahamune | 
sarpdarsa nartham ambaya nadi pulina sarps itah || 9 

sa ca vaisyas tapastape devT suktam param japan | 

tau tasmin puline devyah krtva murtirp mahlmayTm | 10 

arhanam cakra tus tasyah puspa dhupagni tarpanaih | 
niraharau yataharau tanmanaskau samahitau || 11 

dadatustau balim caiva nijagatra srguksitam | 

evarp samara dhayato stribhir varsair yatatmanoh | 12 

paritusta jagad-dhatrlpratyaksarp praha canDika || 13 

devy uvaca || 14 



yat prarthyate tvaya bhupa tvaya ca kulanandana \ 

mat tastat prapyatarp sarvarn paritusta dadami tat || 15 

markanDeya uvaca || 16 

tato vavre nrpo rajya- mavibh ram syan yajanmani | 
atraiva ca nijarp rajyarp hata satru balarp balat || 1 7 

so' pi vaisyas tato jnanarn vavre nirvinna manasah | 
mametya hamiti prajnah sahga vicyuti karakam || 18 

devy uvaca || 19 

svalpaira hobhir nrpate svarp rajyarp prapsyate bhavan || 20 

hatva ripunas alitarp tava tatra bhavisyati || 21 

mrtasca bhuyah samprapya janma devad vivasvatah || 22 

savarniko nama manur bhavan bhuvi bhavisyati |[ 23 

vaisya varya tvaya yasca varo'smatto'b^ivan chitah || 24 

tarn prayac ami sam siddhyai tava jnanarn bhavisyati || 25 

markanDeya uvaca || 26 

iti dattva tayor devlyatha bhilasitarp varam |[ 27 

babhuvan tarhita sadyo bhaktya ta ya mabhistuta | 
evarp devya varam lab va suratha ksatri-yarsabhah j| 28 

suryaj janma samasadya savarnir bhavita manuh || 29 

evarp devya varam lab va suratha ksatri-yarsabhah | 
suryaj janma samasadya savarnir bhavita manuh || 30 

| kllrp om | 



|| srisaptasatidevimahatmyam samaptam || 
|| orptatsatom || 



DEVI MAHATMYA 

concluding 
stotras 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 



hrdaya nyasam 



om 

khaDginT sulinT ghora gadinT cakrinT tatha || 
sahkhinT capinT bana bhusundT parighayudha | 
hrdayaya namah 

sulena pahi no devi pahi ki aDgena cambike | 
ghanta svanena nah pahi capajyanih svanena ca 
sirase svaha 

pracyarp raksa pratlcyam ca canDike raksa daksine 
bhramanenatmasulasya uttarasyam tathesvari || 
sikhayai vasat 

saumyani yam rupani trailokye vicaranti te \ 

yani catyarthaghorani tai raksasmamstatha bhuvam 

kavacaya hum 

khaDgasulagadadlni yani castrani te'mbike | 
karapallavasariglni tairasman raksa sarvatah || 
netratrayaya vausat 

sarvasvarupe sarvese sarvasakti samanvite | 
bhayebhyastrahi no devi durge devi namo'stu te || 
astraya phat 

om bhurbhuvassuvarom iti dikvimokah 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 



saptasati dhyanam 




I meditate upon the three-eyed 
Goddess, Durga, the Reliever of 
Difficulties; 

the luster of her beautiful body is like 
lightening. She sits upon the shoulders 
of a lion and appears very fierce. Many 
maidens, holding the double-edged 
sword and shield in their hands are 
standing at readiness to serve Her. 
She holds in Her hands the discus & 
club, double-edged sword & shield, 
arrow & bow, noose & the mudra 
connecting the thumb and pointer 
fingers extended upwards, indicating 
the granting of wisdom. 
Her intrinsic nature is fore, and upon 
Her head, She wears the moon as a 
crown. 



dhyanam 

orp vidyud damasamaprabham mrgapati skandhasthitam 
bhTsanam 

kanyabhih karavalakheta vilasad dhastabhira sevitam | 
hastai scakra gadasi eta visikhamscapam gunam 
tarjanTm bibhranamanalatmikam sasidharam durgam 
trinetram bhaje || 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 



saptasati panchopacharam 



lam prthivyatmikayai namah | gandharh kalpayami 

roll thumbs on little fingers of both hands - offering gandham. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
gandham to fill the size of the earth 



ham akasatmikayai namah | puspaiti kalpayami 

roll index fingers on thumbs of both hands - offering puspam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
pusham to fill the size of the entire sky. 



yam vayvatmikayai namah | dhupam kalpayami 

roll thumbs on index fingers of both hands - offering dhoopam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
dhoopam to fill the size of all the air Vayu (air). 



ram agnyatmikayai namah | dipaiti kalpayami 

roll thumbs on middle fingers of both hands - offering agni. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
deepam to fill the all agni. 



vaiti amrtatmikayai namah | amritam kalpayami 

roll thumbs on ring fingers of both hands - offering naivedyam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
Amrit or Ambrosia. 



sarin sarvatmikayai namah | samastopacaran samarpayami 

offer akshatas and namaskar mudra... offering all services in the mind mental and the deities will offer 
to you. 



93 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 



navaksari (navarna) japam 



NAVAKSARI (NAVARNA) JAPAM 



Surrender self to mantra before japam. 

Pray for purification of mind (when mind becomes pure and free from desires 
it attains liberation). 

Visualise deity on crown lotus and self moving into and merging with deity 

Visualise oneness with the divine infinite consciousness with self 
transforming into meditational deity. 



orp aim hrTm kITm camunDayai vicce 
(108 times i.e. 1 mala or multiples of mala) 



94 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 

navaksari hrdaya (anga) 
nyasam 



om aim hrdayaya namah 

hrTm sirase svaha 

kITm sikhayai vasat 

camunDayai kavacaya 
hum 

vicce netratrayaya vausat 

aim hrTm kITm camunDayai 
vicce astraya phat 



om bhurbhuvassuvarom 
iti dikbandah 



touch heart-center with fingertips of both hands 
top of head 
back of head 



clasp upper part of arms just below shoulder with 
arms crossed at chest 



3 eyes 



While saying this, trace a clockwise circle around 
your body using your right hand. Clockwise as if 
you were looking down on your head from above. 
As you say "phat", you can clap your hands 
loudly and decisively either once or 3 times. 
Clapping loudly is considered to break up any 
stagnant or negative energy patterns in the room, 
and to scatter any uncooperative entities in the 
area. So do this with a firm will and determination 
that nothing is going to deter you from your 
purpose of chanting Mother's sacred names. 
(Astra means a fiery missile, so here we are 
tracing a subtle circular shield of fire, to protect 
us while we practice. Phat is a powerful sound of 
expelling and repelling negative energy.) 

While saying this, you can again pass your right 
hand in a clockwise circle above and around your 
body. While doing this, you can snap your fingers. 
Traditionally, ones snaps in each of the 10 
directions (front, front-right, right, right-back, 
back, left-back, left, front-left, up, and down). But 
you can just snap a bunch of times and mentally 
think of the 10 directions. ("Bhurbhuvassuvarom" 
contains 4 words, bhuhu, bhuvaha, suvaha, and 
Om. These are the same 4 words in the first line 
of Gayatri Mantra. Bhuhu refers to the Earth, 
bhuvaha refers to the next level or loka, and 
suvaha refers to a level higher than that, like a 
heaven or astral realm. By snapping in all 
directions, we protect ourselves from 
unnecessary intrusions that might come from any 
direction 



95 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 



navaksari dhyanam 



dhyanam 



khaDgarp cakra gadesu capa parighan chularn bhusundfm sirah 
sahkharn sarnda atlrp karai strinayanarn sarvahga bhusavrtam | 
nllasmadyutimasya pada dasakam seve mahakallkam 
yamastaut svapite harau kamalajo hanturn ma urn kaitabham || 

aksasrak parasum gadesu kulisarn padmarn dhanuh kunDikam 
danDarn saktim asirn ca carma jalajam ghantam surabhajanam | 
sularn pasa sudarsane ca dadhatTrn hastaih prasannananarn 
seve sairibha mardinTmiha mahalaksmTm sarojasthitam || 

ghanta sula halani sahkha musale cakrarn dhanuh sayakam 
hastabjair dadhatTrn ghananta vilasacchTtam sutulya prabham | 
gaurldeha samudbhavarn trijagatam adharabhutam 
mahapurvamatra sarasvatlm anubhaje sumbhadi daityardinlm ]j 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 



navaksari panchopacharam 



lam prthivyatmikayai namah | gandharh kalpayami 



roll thumbs on little fingers of both hands - offering gandham. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
gandham to fill the size of the earth 



ham akasatmikayai namah | puspaiti kalpayami 



roll index fingers on thumbs of both hands - offering puspam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
pusham to fill the size of the entire sky. 



yam vayvatmikayai namah | dhupam kalpayami 



roll thumbs on index fingers of both hands - offering dhoopam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
dhoopam to fill the size of all the air Vayu (air). 



ram agnyatmikayai namah | dipaiti kalpayami 



roll thumbs on middle fingers of both hands - offering agni. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
deepam to fill the all agni. 



varh amrtatmikayai namah | amritam kalpayami 



roll thumbs on ring fingers of both hands - offering naivedyam. Request Devi to imagine this offering of 
Amrit or Ambrosia. 



saiti sarvatmikayai namah | samastopacaran samarpayami 



offer akshatas and namaskar mudra... offering all services in the mind mental and the deities will offer 
to you. 



97 



rgvedoktam devisuktam audio 
vedic pronunciation 

(hold iPad in landscape mode to listen to 
audio clip and navigate text simultaneously) 



In this hymn, the Goddess expresses Her primary place as the source and power of all that exists in the 
vast universe, including the Gods themselves. She also asserts Her identity as the absolute One - all 
the Gods are but facets and expressions of Her ultimate divine presence. 

She also expresses Her grace, affirming that She sustains not only the sadhaka - one who has 
accepted a guru with humility and sincerely practices with the goal of liberation - but also those who 
deny Her or are totally unaware of Her existence. 

For those who are truly devoted and committed to spiritual discipline, Devi says that She obliterates the 
obstacles to their progress and spiritual awakening. 

Finally, Devi proclaims Herself to be the source (yoni) of all creation, the source of creative power itself, 
and reveals Herself as both immanent and transcendent being, consciousness as well as manifested 
reality. Ultimately, Devi is all that is, both manifest and unmanifest, embracing and surpassing the limits 
of the limitless universe. 



See the deity as Self. See that the deity fills everyone and everything. See that the entire universes 
exists within that deity. Have no desires and just surrender to that deity. 



om 

aham rudrebhir vasubhis caram yahama" dityai ruta visva 
de" vain | 

aharn mitra varunobha bibhar myaham in"dragnl .. 
ahamasvi nobha |[ 1 

a ham somama hanasam " bibhharmyaham tvasta"ramuta 
pusanam bhagam" | 

aham da amidravinam havismate supravye ve ..yevaiamanava 
sunvate || 2 

aharn rastn" sahgamanT vasu" nam cikitusT" prathama 
yajni ya" nam | 

tamma" deva vya da uh purutra bhuristhatram 
bhuryya" vesavan"tTm 3 

maya so annamatti yo vipa svati yah praniti yaT'm .. 
srnot yuktam | 

amantavo mam ta upa ksiyanti srudhi sruta sraddhivam te" 
vadami [| 4 



ahameva svava midam vadami justam" deve-bhiruta manusebhih 
I 

yam kamaye tarn tamugram kmomi tarn brahmanam tamrsim tarn 
sumedham || 5 

aham rudraya dhanura tanomi brahma dvise sarave hantava u | 
aham iana'Va samadam" krno myaham dyava" prthivT .. avivesa 
II 6 



aham suve pitaramasya murddhan mamayoni 
rapsv(a.. a)ntah samudre | 
tato vi-tisthe bhuvananu visvo tamum dyam 
varsmanopa sprsami |] 7 



98 



ahameva vata iva prava"m yarabhama nabhuvana nivisva" | 
paro diva para ena prthivyai tavatT mahina samba-bhuva || 8 



om santih santih santih 



99 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 

kunjika stotram 



This is the essence of the Chandi, the Navarna Mantra, the constant reminder that change She will, 
change She must, because change is Her intrinsic Nature. 

Kunjika literally means something overgrown or hidden by growth or growing things. Siddha means 
perfection. Stotram is the song. The Song of Perfection which is no longer hidden because of growth. 
That is, our spiritual growth and understanding of the Chandi exposes the hidden meanings of the bija 
mantras in the Song. 



siva uvaca 



srnu devi pravaksyami kunjika stotra muttamam 
yena mantra prabhavena candfjapah subho bhavet || 

na kavacam nargala stotram kilakarm na rahasyakam | 
na suktam napi hyanam ca nanyaso na ca varcanam || 

kunjika patha matrena durga patha phalam labhet | 
ati guhyataram devi devanamapi durlabham || 

gopanlyam prayatnena svayo niriva parvati | 

maranam mohanam vasyam stambhanoccata nadikam | 

patha matrena samsid dhyet kunjika stotra muttamam 

(CHANT IN ONE FULL BREATH) 

om aim hrlm kllrn camunDayai vicce 
om glaum hum kllrn jum sah 
jvalaya jvalaya jvala jvala prajvala prajvala 
aim hrlm kllm camunDayai vicce 
jvala ham sam lam ksam phat svaha || 

namaste rudra rupinyai namaste madhu mardini 
namah kaitabha harinyai namaste mahisardini 1 

namaste sumbha hantryaica nisumbhasuraghatini 2 

jagratam hi maha devi japam siddham kurusvame | 
aimkansrsti rupayai hrlmkarl prati palika || 3 

kllmkarl kama rupinyai bija rupe namo'stute | 
camunDa canDa ghatlca yaikarT varadayinl || 4 

vicce ca bhayada nityam namaste mantra rupini || 5 

dham dhTm dhum dhurjateh patnl vam vim vum vaga dhlsvarl | 
kram krlm krum kalika devi sam slm sum me sub ham kuru 6 



hum hum humkara rupinyai jam jam jam jambhanadini 

bhram bhrTm bhrum bhairavT bhadre bhavanyai te namo namah 

7 

am kam cam tarn tarn pam yam sam vim durn aim vim ham ksarn 
dhijagram dhijagram trotaya trotaya diptam kuru kuru svaha || 

pam pirn pum parvatlpurna kham khlm khum khecantatha 8 

sam sTm sum saptasatT devya mantra siddhim kurusva me 9 

idam tu kuhjika stotram mantra jagarti hetave 
abhakte naiva datavyam gopitam raksa parvati || 

yastu kuhjika ya devi hlnam saptasatlm pathet | 
na tasya jayate siddhi-raranye rodanam yatha 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 



durga suktam 



DURGA SUKTAM 



durga suktam 



vedic pronunciation 

(hold iPad in landscape mode to listen to 
audio clip and navigate text simultaneously) 



om jatavedase sunavama soma'marati-yato nidahati vedah 

sa nah parsadati durgani visva naveva sindhum duritatyagnih || 1 

tamagnivamarh tapasa jvalantTrh vairocanTrh karmaphalesu justa"m | 
durgarh devim saranamaharh prapa'dya sutarasi tarase namah || 2 

agne tvarh paraya navyo asman-svasti bhirati durgani visva" | 
pusca prthvTbahulana urvTbhava tokaya tanayaya sartiyoh || 3 

visvani no durgaha jatavedas-sindhu na nava duritatiparsi | 
agne atrivan manasa grnano"smakarh bodhyavita tanuna"m || 4 

prtanajitarh sahamana rnugrarnaqnirhhuverna 
paramat h -sad h ast h a"t | 

sa nah parsadati durgani visva ksamaddevo atiduritat yaqnih || 5 

pratnosi kamTDyo adhvaresu sanacca hota navyasca sat h si | 
svarhca"gne tanuvarh piprayasva smabhyarh ca 
saub h agya- maya-jasva || 6 

gobhir-justamayu jonisitktarh tave"ndra visnoranusarhcarema 
nakasya prsthamabhi sarhvasano vaisnavlrh loka iha madayantam || 
7 

om katyayanaya vidmahe kanyakumari dhTmahi 
tanno durgih pracodaya"t || 

om santih santih santi'h || 



102 



CONCLUDING STOTRAS 



ksama prarthana 



orp 



aparadha sahasrani kriyante harnisarp maya | 
daso yamiti mam matva ksamasva paramesvari || 

avahanarp na janami na janami visarjanam | 
pujam caiva na janami ksamyatarn paramesvari || 

mantrahlnarp kriyahlnarp bhakti hlnarn suresvari | 
yatpujitarp maya devi paripurnam tadastu me || 

aparadhasatam krtva jagadambeti coccaret | 

yam gatirp samavapnoti natam brahmadayah surah || 

saparadho smi saranarp praptastvam jagadambike | 
idanlmanukampyo harp yathecchasi tatha kuru || 

ajhanadvismrter bhrantya yan nyunamadhikarp krtam | 
tat sarvarn ksamyatarn devi praslda paramesvari || 

kamesvari jaganmatah saccidananda vigrahe | 
grhanarcamimarp prltya praslda paramesvari || 

guhyati guhyagoptrltvarp grhanasmatkrtarp japam | 
siddhir bhavatu me devi tvat prasadat suresvari || 

orp 



DEVI MAHATMYA 

appendix 



APPENDIX 



pradhanika rahasyam 



PRADHANIKA RAHASYAM 



The primal Mahalakshmi is constituted of all 3 gunas (triguna) and Her 
svarupa forms of Mahakali (tamas), Malakshmi (rajas) and Mahasaraswati 
(sattva). 

Each of these forms then created a twin male-female form; 
Mahalakshmi 

produced Brahma / Lakshmi; 
Mahakali 

produced Rudra / Saraswati; 

Mahasaraswati 
produced Vishnu / Gauri. 



105 



The Unmanifest 



Chandi 



Mahalakshmi 



Mahakali 
4 arms 



Rudra 

v 



Sarasvati 



Mahalakshmi 
4 arms 



Brahma 



Lakshmi 



J 'v 



Mahasarasvati 
4 arms 



iti 



Visnu 



I I Gauri 



v. 



Mahakali 



The Manifest / Incarnated 



10 armed 



1st carita 



hymn in ch. 1 



Mahalakshmi 



18 armed 



2nd carita 



hymn in ch. 4 



Mahasarasvati 



8 armed 



3rd carita 



hymn in ch. 11 



.J V 



APPENDIX 



yantra 



The Chandika Chakra yantra is constructed by drawing an eight 
petalled lotus with a Shatkona (six-pointed star) in its centre. 

The first three Bijas of the Navarna mantra are written in the 
centre of the Shatkona. The rest of the Bijas are written in the 
Shatkona starting from the east. 

The Bijas should be written in a clockwise pattern from right to 
the left. 

It should be noted that during Akshara Nyasa and Yantra lekhana, 
all letters should be used along with the Bindu. 



107 



APPENDIX 



sri devyatharvasirsam 



om 

sarve vai deva devT-mupatasthuh kasi tvam mahadevTti 
sabravTt ~ 

aham brahmasvarupinT 

mattah prakrti purusatmakam jagat 

sunyam casunyam ca 2 

aham-ananda-nanandau 

aham vijna-navijnane 

aham brahma-brahmanTveditavye 

aham pancabhutanya pancabhutani | 

aham akhilam jagat 3 

vedo ' ham-avedo ' ham 
vidyaham avidyaham 
ajaham-anajaham 

adhascordhvam ca tiryak-caham 4 

aham rudrebhir vasubhis carami 
aham-adityai-ruta visva devaih 
aham mitra varuna-vubhau bibharmi 
aham indragnTaham asvina-vubhau 5 

aham somam tvastaram pusanam bhagam dadhami 
aham visnum-urukramam brahmanamuta prajapatim 
dadhami 6 



aham dad h ami dravinam havismate 

supravye yajamanaya sunvate 

aham rastrTsaiigamanlvasunam 

cikitusT prathama yajhiyanam 

aham suve pitaramasya ... 

... murdhanmama yonirapsvantah samudre 

ya evam veda | 

sa daivTm sampadamapnoti 7 
te deva abruvan ~ 

namo devyai mahadevyai sivayai satatam namah 
namah prakrtyai bhadrayai niyatah pranatah sma tarn 

tamagnivarnam tapasa jvalantTm ... 
... vairocanTm karmaphalesu justam 
durgam devlm saranam prapadya ... 
... mahesuran-nasayitryai te namah 9 

devlm vacam-ajanayanta devas tarn visvarupah pasavo 
vadanti | 

sa no mandre-samurjam duhana ... 

... dhenur-vagasmanupa sustutaitu 10 

kalaratrTm brahma-stutam 
vaisnavTm skandamataram 
sarasvatTm aditim daksa-duhitaram 
namamah pavanam sivam 1 1 

mahalaksmyai ca vidmahe sarva saktyai ca dhTmahi 
tanno devT pracodayat 1 2 

aditir-hya-janista daksa ya duhita tava 

tarn deva anvajayanta bhadra amrta-bandhavah 1 



ka e i la hnm ha sa ka ha la hnrp sa ka la hnm (pachadasi mantra) 

kamo yonih kamala vajrapanir(h) 
guha hasa matarisva-bhramindrah 
punarguha sakala mayaya ca 
puru-cyaisa visva-matadi vidyom 14 

esa" tmasaktih 
esa visva mohinT | 
pasahkusa dhanur banadhara 
esa srT mahavidya 

ya evam veda sa sokam tarati 1 5 

namaste astu bhagavati matarasman pahi sarvatah 16 

saisastau vasavah 

saisaikadasa rudrah 

saisa dvadasadityah 

saisa visvedevah somapa asoma-pasca 

saisa yatudhana asura raksamsi pisaca yaksah siddhah 

saisa sattva rajas tamarpsi 

saisa brahma visnu rudra rupinT 

saisa praja-patlndra manavah 

saisa graha-naksatra jyotTmsi 

kalakasthadi kalarupinT 

tam-aham pranaumi nityam 17 

papa-paharinTm devTm 
bhukti mukti pradayinTm 
anantam vijayam sudd ham 
saranyam sivadam sivam 



109 



hnm - the seed mantra that accomplishes all objectives 

viyadTkara-samyuktam 
vTtihotra samanvitam 
ardhen-dulasitam devya 
bTjam sarvartha sadhakam 18 

who meditates upon this one-syllabled deity, his consciousness becomes pure, he becomes 
filled with ultimate bliss, and he becomes the ocean of Wisdom 

evamekak-saram brahma yatayah sudd ha cetasah 
dhyayanti paramananda-maya jnanam-burasayah 19 

aim hnm kITm camunDayai vicce (navarna mantra) 

vaiimaya brahmasustasmat sastham vaktra samanvitam 
suryo'vama-srotra bindu samyuk-tastat trtTyakah 
nara-yanena sam-misro vayusca-dharayuk tatah 
vicce navarnako'rnah-syan mahadananda dayakah 20 

hrtpundarT-kama-dhyastham 
pratah surya sama prabham 
pasankusa dharam saumyam 
varada-bhaya hastakam 
trinetram raktavasanam 
bhakta-kamadugham bhaje 21 

namami tvam mahadevTm 
mahabhaya-vinasinTm 
mahadurga prasamanTm 
mahakarunya rupinlm 22 



yasyah svarupam brahmadayo najananti 

tasmaducyate ajneya 

yasya anto nalabhyate 

tasmaducyate anata 

yasya laksyam nopa-laksyate 

tasmaducyate alaksya 

yasya jananam nopalabhyate 

tasmaducyate aja 

ekaiva sarvatra vartate 

tasmaducyate eka 

ekaiva visvarupinT 

tasmaducyate naika 

ata evocyate ajne-yananta-laksya-jaika naiketi 

mantranam matrka devT 
sabdanam jnanarupinl 
jnananam cinmayatTta 
sunyanam sunyasaksinl 
yasyah parataram nasti 
saisa durga praklrtita 24 

tarn durgam durgamam devTm 
duracara-vighatinTm 
namami bhava-bhTto'ham 
samsarar-nava tarinTm 25 



idam-atharvasTrsam yo'dhTte 
sa pancatharvasTrsa japa phalamapnoti 
idam-atharvaslrsam-ajnatva yo rcam sthapayati - 
satalaksam prajaptvapi so'rca-siddhim na vindati | 
satam-astottaram casya purascarya vidhih smrtah 
dasavaram pathed yastu sadyah papaih pramucyate 
mahadurgani tarati mahadevyah prasadatah 26 

sayam-adhTyano divasakrtam papam nasayati 

pratar-adhTyano ratrikrtam papam nasayati 

sayam pratah prayunjano apapo bhavati 

nislthe turTya-sandhyayam japtva vak siddhir bhavati 

nGtanayam pratimayam japtva devata-sannidhyam bhavati 

prana pratisthayam japtva prananam pratistha bhavati 

bhauma-svinyam mahadevTsannidhau japtva 

mahamrtyum tarati 

sa maha mrtyum tarati ya evarp veda 

ityu-panisat 



APPENDIX 



sapta sloki durga 



siva uvaca 

devi tvam bhaktasulabhe sarvakaryavidhayinT I 
kalau hi karyasiddhyarthamupayam bruhi yatnatah II 

devyuvaca 

srnu deva pravaksyami kalau sarvestasadhanam I 
maya tavaiva snehenapyambastutih prakasyate II 

om asya srTdurga sapta slokT stora mantrasya narayana rsih 
anustup chandah srimahakalT mahalakshmT mahasarasvatyo 
devatah srTdurga prTtyartham sapta slokT durga pathe 
viniyogah II 

om jhaninamapi cetamsi devT bhagavatT hi sa I 
baladakrsya mohaya mahamaya prayacchati II 



durge smrta harasi bhTtima sesajantoh 
svasthaih smrta matimatTva subham dadasi I 
daridrya duhkha bhayaharini ka tvadanya 
sarvopakara karanaya sada'rdracitta II 

sarva mahgala mahgalye sive sarvartha sadhike I 
saranya trambake gauri narayani namo-stu te II 

saranagata dTnarta paritrana parayane I 
sarvasyarti hare devi narayani namo-stu te II 

sarvasvarupe sarvese sarvasakti samanvite I 
bhayebhyastrahi no devi durge devi namo-stu te II 

roganasesanapahamsi tusta 
rusta tu kaman sakalanabhTstan I 
tvamasritanam na vipannaranam 
tvamasrita hyasrayatam prayanti II 

sarvabadha prasamanam trailokyasyakhilesvari I 
evameva tvaya karyamasmadvairivinasanam II 

om 



APPENDIX 



pronunciation guide 



Transliteration color codes 

h voiced fricative e.g. namah 

n nasal retroflex e.g. prana 

r retroflex (as in rumble) e.g. sarvam 

s retroflex (as in shadow) e.g. visnu, vaisnavl 

underline indicates words that are grouped together 
in the original Sanskrit text 

e.g. 

sarvamahqalamahqalve 

indicates aids to assist pronunciation of long words 
e.g. sarvamahgala-marigalye 

or sarva mahgala mahgalye 

Long vowels (e.g. a) are held twice as long 



a : long form of a e.g.. : atma 

T : long form of i e.g.. : hrlm 

u : long form of u e.g. : paripurnam 



r : rolled r e.g.: krtam 

f : rolled r followed by a long i e.g.: krt 

h or m : nasal sound e.g.: ahahkara ; om 

h : unvoiced aspirated h. 

If after a short vowel it is pronounced like aha, ih like ihi 
e.g.: santih is prononced shantihi. 



Sibilants 

s : 'sh' sound pronounced at the back of the palate, 
e.g.: srT, siva, svarupena 

s : as in "sharp" e.g.: manusebhih, visnu, vaisnavl 

s : regular 's' as in "spirit" e.g.: svaha, sura 



Consonants 



h : as in king, ring e.g.: piiigala 

h : as in canyon e.g.: kunjika 

n : pronounce the letter n with tongue rolled up. 

as in none e.g.: prana 

t : tip of tongue slightly upwards e.g.: samacasta 

th : aspirated h as in anthill e.g.: vitisthe 

d : tongue rolled up as in drum e.g.: canDa 

Compounds 



ks : like the ksh in backshift e.g.: pravaksyami 



velars 


palatals 


retroflexes 


dentals 


labials 




k K 


^[C] 

c C 


t T 

1 1 


t T 


^[P] 
P P 


tenuis plosives 


W [k h ] 
kh Kh 


ch Ch 


th Th 


th Th 


^[P h ] 

ph Ph 


aspirated plosives 


^[g] 
g g 


i J 


v[4] 
d 


MS 

d b 


^[b] 
b B 


voiced plosives 


^[g h ] 

gh Gh 


jh Jh 


dh Ph 


ST[CT] 

dhDh 


*r[b h ] 
bh Bh 


breathy-voiced plosives 


h SJ 


^ |p] 
n N 


n N 


*[n] 
n N 


T[m] 
m M 


nasal stops 




y y 


*[r] 
r R 


*rm 

1 L 


v V 


semi-vowels 




s S 


s S 


s S 




sibilants 


SIM 
h H 










voiced fricative 



114 




115 



Chapter 8 



Commentary 



by Dr. Satya 
Prakash Choudary 



Section i 

First episode 
Pradhama Carita 



Chapter 1 

Two unlucky losers meet in a forest. The first is a king by the 
name of Suratha who protected his people treating them as 
his own children. He is defeated in a battle by enemies though 
they were a small force. On his return to his kingdom he is 
again attacked by powerful enemies. The king now bereft of 
strength is further robbed of his treasury and army by his own 
wicked ministers. Deprived of his kingdom, king Suratha rides 
alone on horseback into a dense forest. There he comes to the 
hermitage of sage Medhas. Graced by the disciples of the sage 
the hermitage is inhabited by wild beasts tamed of their 
ferocity. After spending some time at the hermitage, overcome 
by a deep attachment to what he considered as his own, the 
king is worried about his kingdom, his chief elephant, his 
followers and his treasury. 



Overcome with attachment, he thought, "I do not know 
whether the capital which was well guarded by my ancestors 
and recently deserted by me is being guarded righteously or 
not by my servants of evil conduct. I do not know what care 
my chief elephant, heroic and always elated, and now fallen 
into the hands of my foes, will get. Those who were my 
constant followers and received favour, riches and food from 
me, now certainly render service to other kings. The treasures 
which I gathered with great difficulty will be squandered by 
those ceaseless spendthrifts addicted to improper 
expenditures". 

Near the hermitage of the sage the king saw a merchant, and 
asked him: "Who are you? What is the reason for your coming 
here? Wherefore do you appear as if afflicted with grief and 
depressed in mind?" Hearing the empathetic enquiry of the 
king, the merchant bowed respectfully and replied to the king. 
"I am a merchant named Samadhi, born in a wealthy family. I 
have been cast out by my unworthy sons and wife, through 
greed for my wealth. My wife and sons have misappropriated 
my riches, and made me devoid of wealth. Cast out by my 
trusted kinsmen, I have come to the forest grief-stricken. 
Dwelling here, I do not know anything about the welfare of 
my sons, kinsmen and wife. How are my sons? Are they of 
good conduct or of or evil ways?" 

Thereupon the king asked the merchant, "Why is your mind 
affectionately attached to those covetous folks, your sons, wife 
and others, who have deprived you of your wealth?" The 
merchant replied, "This very thought has occurred to me, just 



117 



as you have uttered it. But what can I do? Unable to detach 
my mind bears deep affection to those very persons who have 
driven me out in their greed for wealth, abandoning love for a 
father and attachment to one's master and kinsmen. Although 
I know it I do not comprehend how the mind is prone to love 
even towards worthless kinsmen? On account of them I heave 
heavy sighs and feel dejected. What can I do since my mind 
does not become harsh towards those unloving ones?" 

Then the merchant Samadhi and the noble king Suratha 
together approached sage Medhas and after observing the 
etiquette worthy of him and as was proper, they sat down and 
conversed with him. The king said: "Sir, I wish to ask you one 
thing. Pray, reply to it. Not being under the control of my 
intellect, my mind is afflicted with grief. Though I have lost 
the kingdom, I have an attachment to all the paraphernalia of 
my kingdom. Though I know the actuality how is this sense of 
'mine' afflicting me like an ignorant man, O best of sages? And 
this merchant has been disowned by his children, wife and 
servants, and forsaken by his own people; still he is 
inordinately affectionate towards them. Thus both he and I, 
drawn by attachment towards objects whose defects we do 
know, are exceedingly unhappy. How is it that even the 
knowledgeable are deluded? This delusion besets me as well 
as him, blinded as we are in our ability to discern." 

As his name implies (medhas: intelligence or wisdom), sage 
Medhas is a wise man, the seer who knows. Here knowledge, 
intelligence and wisdom are not merely intellectual but 
intuitive and insightful as well. The wise sage does not start 



advising them directly. Instead he addresses their 
predicament indirectly as a wise counsellor would in this sort 
of a situation. 

The sage replied to the king's query as follows. "Sir, every 
being has the knowledge of objects perceivable by the senses 
in various ways. Some beings are blind by day, and others are 
blind by night; some beings have equal sight both by day and 
night. Human beings are certainly endowed with knowledge, 
but they are not the only beings to be so endowed, for cattle, 
birds, animals and other creatures too cognise. The 
knowledge that men have, birds and beasts also have; and 
what they have men also possess; and the rest like eating and 
sleeping is common to both of them. Look at these birds, 
though they are themselves afflicted by hunger and are aware 
of it, because of delusion, they are engaged in feeding grains 
into the beaks of their young ones. Human beings too are, 
attached to their children expecting in return. Do you not see 
this?" 

"Even so men are hurled into the whirlpool of attachment, the 
pit of delusion, through the power of Mahamaya the Great 
delusion, who makes the continuance of the cycle of worldly 
existence possible. Marvel not at this. This Mahamaya is the 
Yoganidra, the Superconscient sleep of Vishnu, the Lord of 
the world. It is by her the world is deluded. Verily she, the 
Bhagavati, the Mahamaya entangles humans into delusion 
forcibly drawing the minds of even the wise. She creates this 
entire universe, both moving and unmoving. It is she who, 
when propitious, grants the best to humans and shows the 



way for their final liberation. She is the supreme knowledge, 
the cause of final liberation, and eternal; she is the cause of 
the bondage of transmigration (samsara) and the sovereign 
over all lords". 

The king said, "Venerable sir, who is that Devi whom you call 
Mahamaya? How did she come into being, and what is her 
sphere of action, O sage? What constitutes her nature? What 
is her form? Wherefrom did she originate? All that I wish to 
hear from you, O you supreme among the knowers of 
Brahman." The seer replied, "That Goddess is eternal, without 
beginning. The entire world is her embodiment. By her all this 
is pervaded. Nevertheless she incarnates in manifold ways; 
hear it from me. Though she is eternal, she is said to be born 
in the world, whenever she manifests herself in order to 
accomplish the purposes of the devas." 

Thereafter the sage narrates the first myth related to the 
manifestation of the Devi in her universal form as Maya or 
YogaMaya. Here the Devi is central to the creation myth. She 
is the power that induces Lord Vishnu's deep slumber on the 
waters of the cosmic ocean prior to the manifestation of the 
Universe, in its continuous cycles of manifestation and 
dissolution. Each such cycle of creative manifestation, 
sustenance and dissolution constitutes a Kalpa. 

At the end of a Kalpa when the universe was one vast stretch 
of ocean with the waters of the deluge, the adorable Lord 
Vishnu was in a state of deep mystic sleep (yoganidra), 
stretched out on Adi Sesha the thousand hooded primal 



serpent of Time. Two terrible demons Madhu and Kaitabha, 
sprung into being from the ear wax or waste (mala) of 
Vishnu's ears, and sought to slay Brahma, the father of beings. 
Brahma who is sitting in the lotus at Vishnu's navel, then 
extols the Great Goddess Yoganidra requesting her to 
withdraw from Vishnu so he may awaken and slay the 
demons. 

This hymn by Brahma (Brahma-stuti), also known as the 
Tantrika Ratri Suktam is the first of the four famous hymns in 
the Devi Mahatmyam. The Devi is extolled by Brahma as the 
incomparable Goddess -Vishnu's Yoganidra, the queen of 
cosmos, the supporter of the worlds, the cause of the 
sustenance and dissolution alike. 

There upon, the Devi who herself causes delusion, withdrew 
herself from every part of Vishnu's body, and appeared before 
Brahma, who takes birth from the Unmanifest. Released from 
the influence of YogaMaya, Lord Vishnu awoke and saw those 
two evil demons Madhu and Kaitabha, of exceeding power, 
with eyes red in anger, endeavouring to devour Brahma. 
Thereupon the all-pervading Lord Vishnu got up and fought 
with the two demons for five thousand years, using his own 
arms as weapons. The two demons, frenzied with their 
exceeding power, and deluded by Goddess Mahamaya, 
exclaimed to Vishnu, "Ask a boon from us". 

How intoxicating and blinding can power and strength be! 

Lord Vishnu said "If you are satisfied with me, you must both 
be slain by me now. What need is there of any other boon 

119 



here?" The two demons thus bewitched by Mahamaya, gazing 
at the entire world turned into water, told the lotus eyed Lord 
Vishnu, "Slay us at the spot where the earth is not flooded 
with water". Saying "Be it so", Lord Vishnu, the great wielder 
of conch, discus and mace, took them on His loins and there 
severed their heads with His discus. Thus Mahamaya herself 
appeared when praised by Brahma. 

Thus ends the first chapter -"The slaying of Madhu and 
Kaitabha" - of Devi Mahatmya in Markandeya Purana. The 
first chapter is the only chapter of the first episode. In this 
chapter the stage is set for the narration of the glory of the 
Goddess through another story, that of two losers-namely the 
king and the merchant. The slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha is 
also narrated in the same chapter by sage Medhas to the 
deposed king Suratha and the ruined merchant Samadhi. 



Section 2 

Second Episode 

Mahishasuramardhini 

myth 



This is the second episode where the same Adi Sakti manifests 
Herself as Durga and overcomes Mahishasura the buffalo 
headed demon who is half human and half beast. The demon 
is partly a pasu (animal or beast) and partly a human and thus 
has the dangerous ability to disrupt cosmic order and 
harmony. Overcoming this powerful combination of beastly 
nature and human competence requires a fiery and dynamic 
form of Shakti, one that can combat worldly rajas through 
divine rajas. 

Technically the Primal form of the Mother that presides over 
Rajas is referred to as Maha Lakshmi whose coral complexion 
identifies Her clearly as the Devi's Rajasic vyashti. 
Mahishasura too is the epitome of Rajas. But unlike the Devi's 
divine rajas, Mahishasura's rajas is of a negative nature. His 
rajasic energy controls him and impels him to destructive 
acts, whereas Durga controls her own fiery splendor. She is an 
embodiment of the wrath of all the gods. Her rajas is 



protective of her devotees and intent on destroying evil. Her 
anger is divine anger that fights the demons. 

Of the three gunas only Rajas has two faces or two dimensions 
to it. One is a purely negative and gross expression that seeks 
material pleasures while the other is a divine and subtle 
expression that takes the individual inward, closer to the 
Supreme Being. Both are goal oriented except that demoniac 
rajas seeks only kama (desire or craving) and artha (material 
prosperity) while divine rajas seeks the fulfilment of righteous 
desires, all round divine prosperity and eventually moksha 
(the reference here is to the four goals of life). This difference 
in the direction of focus or goal is the main difference between 
the two types of rajas. Rajas can bridge Tamas and Sattva. 
Lower order Rajas is closer to Tamas, while higher order 
Rajas is closer to Sattva. Lower order Rajas serves the purpose 
of Tamas and is potentially in danger of pulling us into the 
quagmire of Tamas. Higher order Rajas serves the purpose of 
enabling Sattvavajaya or enabling Sattva to take over the 
other gunas. 



121 



Esoteric meaning of the battle between the gods and 
the demons. 

First let us examine the theme of the battles between the gods 
and the demons as revealed in the Bhagavad Gita, the 
Upanishads and Adi Shankara's commentary. The word 
Sanskrit word for gods is 'devah', which denotes light or the 
function of illumining. Commenting on the verse 
"dev.sur.havaiyatrasa.yetire" 

(Chandogya Upanishad, l. 2. 1), Adi Shankara affirms that the 
gods stand for such functions of the senses (indriya vrttis) as 
are illumined by scriptures. The demons or asuras who are 
opposed to the gods, stand for tendencies that are opposite to 
the illumining functions, and are of the nature of darkness. 
Thus the war between the gods and the demons actually refers 
to the perpetual conflict between the forces of light and 
darkness, between righteous and unrighteous urges. Thus 
there are two opposing psychic forces within all of us. The 
roots of these two types of urges are traced to the Sanchita 
karmas of innumerable lives. While we experience only 
Prarabdha karmas allotted for a particular lifetime, the 
Sanchita karmas indirectly influence us as our samskaras. 

Esoterically speaking the gods symbolise the positive 
samskaras of innumerable lifetimes resulting from all the 
righteous karmas that are oriented towards the Supreme Self, 
while the demons symbolise the negative samskaras of 
innumerable lifetimes resulting from all the unrighteous 
karmas that are contrary and in conducive to our orientation 



to the Supreme Self. Thus interpreting the battles between the 
gods and demons on these lines is in order wherever 
references to the battles between the gods and the demons 
occur in the Vedas and the Puranas. The righteous and 
unrighteous samskaras have also been referred to as daiva 
sampada (divine wealth or divine tendencies) and asura 
sampada (demoniac wealth or demoniac tendencies) in the 
Bhagavad Gita (in the sixteenth chapter titled 'daivasura 
sampdvibhaga yogah'). Here Divine tendencies have been 
referred to as Divine wealth (sampada: wealth) and demoniac 
tendencies as demoniac wealth. Elaborating this idea further 
the Bhagavad Gita declares that the Divine are deemed for 
liberation or Self-realization and the demoniac for bondage. 

Returning back to Mahishasura's myth, the Devi Mahatmyam 
tells us that long back when Mahishasura was the lord of 
asuras and Indra the lord of devas, there was a war between 
the devas and asuras for a full hundred years. Now that we 
know who the gods and demons are, it is not difficult to 
understand why the span of the war is for hundred years. This 
is the approximate upper limit of human life span. Thus the 
conflict between the righteous and unrighteous samskaras 
goes on as long as we are alive. And in that war, as the Devi 
Mahatmyam tells us, the army of the gods is vanquished by 
the mighty demons and Mahisasura becomes the lord of 
heaven. He himself assumes the jurisdictions of Surya, Indra, 
Agni, Vayu, Chandra, Yama and Varuna and of other gods too. 
Now what does this mean? 



122 



As already stated the gods are the presiding deities for various 
indriyas and their functions-Surya over eyes, Indra hands, 
Agni over speech, Vayu over skin, Chandra over the mind, 
Yama over anus, Varuna over tongue and so on. The gods 
stand for the respective indriya vrttis. All these senses and 
their functions are hijacked by Rajo-guna serving the purpose 
of nourishing asuric tendencies. This is the meaning of 
Mahishasura assuming lordship over all jurisdictions of the 
gods. Under the influence of Rajo-guna all psychological and 
sensory functions are focused only on the gross and the 
material, having lost the original orientation to the Supreme 
Being. The task, therefore, is to once again reclaim the 
original state. But this can be achieved only by uniting 
together all the powers of the gods and orienting them back to 
the Supreme Being. This is exactly what happens in the story. 



The vanquished gods collectively surrendering to the 
Devi 

The gods first approach Brahma who leads them to Vishnu 
and Shiva. There is a significance in the gods first approaching 
Brahma. As per Hindu mythology Brahma was born from a 
lotus that grew at Lord Vishnu's navel. Here Vishnu signifies 
Consciousness while the lotus signifies flowering or 
blossoming of Consciousness. Brahma being born from the 
nabhikamala (navel chakra) of Vishnu is clearly a Puranic 
allusion to Kundalini and the Chakras. The nabhi is the vedic 
equivalent to what is known as known as the Manipura chakra 
in the tantric system. Below the manipura chakra is asura 
kshetra (field of demoniac consciousness), while daiva kshetra 
(field of divine consciousness) starts from manipura. Thus the 
very awareness of the conflict between the righteous and 
unrighteous samskaras and the need to overcome asuric 
samskaras, starts with the manipura. Now that spiritual 
awareness has started blossoming it will lead to the coming 
together of all the spiritual samskaras, the coming together of 
the powers of the gods. Brahma leads the gods to Vishnu and 
Shiva. Vishnu and Shiva too symbolise specific psychological 
functions like the other gods. In the symbolism of Devi 
Mahatmyam, the Devi is obviously the Supreme Being or 
Supreme Self, whereas Vishnu and Shiva symbolise prana 
shakti and gnana shakti respectively. 

What happens when all the powers of all the gods come 
together? As the Devi Mahatmyam reveals, all the radiance 
from all the gods coalesced into the auspicious form of the 



Goddess. The tejas that emerges from the gods is not their 
creation but the Devi's natural indwelling presence. Thus 
what coalesces into the Devi's auspicious form is actually Her 
own power. The gods do not relinquish their power or 
weapons, even as their varied powers reunite in the Devi. This 
is a sublime philosophical abstraction of simultaneous divine 
immanence and transcendence. Now that the collective power 
of the gods is united against Mahishasura and his armies, the 
gods can be assured of their inevitable victory. 

Mahishasura and his Generals-Rajo-guna and its Asura 
sampada Mahishasura symbolises the powerful combination 
of human competence and beastly nature. As already stated 
he stands for Rajo-guna. While Kaitabha is also rajas, he 
comes as a twin of Madhu (tamas), at the level of origination. 
Unlike Kaitabha who is of the nature of rajas, Mahishasura is 
the epitome of Rajo-guna. He has sixteen asuras who lead 
various battalions of armies. They stand for various demoniac 
traits or tendencies and are Mahishasura's assets or wealth. 
Together they are all asura sampada or demoniac wealth or 
assets (see the chapter on Daiva sampada and Asura sampada 
for more). 

If Mahishasura has to be subdued his generals have to be 
eliminated first, his demoniac wealth has to be destroyed first. 
But the asura armies vastly outnumber the gods. Commenting 
on the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad's (l, 3) account of a similar 
conflict between the gods and the demons Adi Shankara tells 
us that the gods are always less in number while the demons 
are more. So what to do? There is only one way out-absolute 



124 



surrender to the Supreme Goddess. Nothing less than total 
surrender will bail them out of their difficulty. And this is 
precisely what the gods do. 

As already stated if Mahishasura has to be subdued his 
generals have to be eliminated first, his demoniac wealth has 
to be destroyed first. Hence the Goddess and her lion start 
destroying these asuras one by one. While each of the sixteen 
asura generals and their esoteric significance is important in 
its own way, two among them deserve special mention- 

Durdhara and Durmukha who fight till the last. Only after 
Durdhara and Durmukha are destroyed can the Goddess 
finally fight the asura lord Mahishasura. In fact they find place 
even in the Mahishasuramardhini stotram ('durdharadharii 
durmukhamarii hararate' ). Such is their negative significance 
for spiritual life. 

If Mahishasura is Rajas, Durdhara and Durmukha are 'desire' 
and 'anger'. As the Bhagavad Gita (3. 37) affirms, Rajas begets 
desire and anger. In fact most often anger is related to desire. 
When the fulfilment of desire (Kama) is frustrated by an 
obstacle, frustration turns into anger (Krodha). Desire itself is 
rooted in Rajas and aggravates it further. In fact 'Durdhara' 
literally means 'irresistible' while 'Durmukha' means ugly or 
hideous or bad faced. True enough it is very difficult to resist 
desire, while anger transforms the most beautiful face into a 
hideous one! ('Durmukha' can also mean 'bad-mouthed' or 
'abusive' which too denotes anger) Desire is by nature 
insatiable and is the most important of the six inner enemies 



(arishadvargas) along with its comrade-Anger (Krodha). Since 
Rajas begets desire and anger, they are the last to go before 
Rajas. That is why they fight till the last. Once desire is 
eliminated, Sattva guna (the Divine forces of Light) can easily 
prevail over Rajo guna. 

However do not underestimate Mahishasura (Rajo-guna) and 
his army. Rajo guna (Mahishasura) and its associated vrttis 
(Mahishasura's armies) wield great power over the psyche. 
They are the result of the impressions of innumerable 
lifetimes and choices made in those lives, choices that have 
become embedded in our psyche as stubborn psychological 
traits. To make matters worse most of us waste away this 
precious life without any conscious awareness of what is 
happening within. As the Bhagavad Gita (7. 19) reveals, it is 
only at the end of innumerable births that the wise person 
takes refuge in the Supreme Being, realising that the Supreme 
Being is all that is. And rare is such a great soul. Most of us 
carry on with our deluded lives without realising that life is 
not just about relationships, money, power and material 
pursuits. For the majority spiritual life is only an extension of 
the deep-rooted material approach. Even those who are 
interested have only a shallow interest, quite often it being a 
mere coping mechanism for the stress of daily living. For 
some spirituality is a pursuit that they reserve for their old 
age, for their retired lives. 

Compelled by our asuric tendencies we waste the best time of 
our lives pursuing purely material goals, wasting away our 
greatest potential, postponing it continually. It is only a few 



125 



wise ones who awaken to the truth that the Supreme Being is 
all that is, that have a conscious awareness of the war between 
the gods and the demons. Bringing this inner conflict into 
conscious awareness, the serious practitioner surrenders 
completely to the Supreme Goddess just as the gods did in the 
Devi Mahatmyam. Progressively the gods are reinstated in 
their rightful place by the replacement of asuric wealth with 
divine wealth. This needs the grace of Mahalakshmi who can 
bestow daiva sampada or divine wealth to Her devotee. The 
practitioner who is endowed with divine wealth is now fit for 
attaining liberation. Even if one does not attain liberation in 
this birth, the samskaras and the merit acquired during this 
lifetime are carried in a potential form into the next lives 
when they shall bear fruit automatically. However for those 
who are unwavering from the goal the accumulation of divine 
wealth shall set them free in this very life. Spiritual victory is 
in sight. 



Mahishasura's eightfold fury 

Returning back to Mahishasura's myth, seeing his armies 
destroyed by the Devi an enraged Mahishasura starts 
terrifying the Devi's hosts. And how does Mahishasura 
destroy the Devi's forces-in eight ways. These eight ways are 
the purely negative expression of rajas. Hitting some by 
muzzle, trampling some by the hooves, lashing at some with 
his tail, tearing others with his horns, by sheer speed, by 
bellowing, by wheeling, and by the blast of his breath, 
Mahishasura destroyed the Devi's forces. This eightfold 
unleashing of Mahishasura's rajas is comparable to eightfold 
maithuna or eightfold sexual union, which a Brahmachari is 
strictly advised to avoid. Here a word on Brahmacharya is in 
order. 

Brahmacharya means to move, learn and live in the 'Way of 
Brahman or higher Awareness'. 'Conducting oneself in higher 
awareness' is not just about sexual continence, not just about 
controlling sexual desire but about also about gaining mastery 
over all the indriyas. Among other things it is also largely 
about bringing the indriyas (senses) under effortless control. 
Thus one of the goals of Brahmacharya is reaching a state 
where one is not troubled by the indriyas anymore. However 
this state of freedom from the indriyas comes effortlessly only 
after intense practice or abhyasa. Till one achieves effortless 
mastery over the indriyas one has to make intense efforts. 
Hence initially we are advised to avoid eightfold indulgence of 
the indriyas. The eight ways of sensual indulgence: Smaranam 
(thinking of it), Kirtanam (talking of it), Keli (playing around), 



Prekshanam (seeing), Guhya-bhashanam (talking in secrecy), 
Sankalpa (wishing for), Adhyavasaya (determination 
towards), Kriyanishpatti (actual accomplishment). These are 
the eight ways in which Rajas destroys the divine forces before 
one can even gauge its destructive influence. That is why the 
unleashing of Mahishasura's rajas too has eightfold fury. After 
destroying the Devi's forces by his eightfold rajas, 
Mahishasura rushes forward to slay her lion. The Goddess 
Ambika becomes enraged at this. 



127 



The lion as the sadhaka who has taken to the path of 
dharma 

The lion is none other than the sadhaka who has taken to the 
path of dharma. It is none other than the practitioner, the jiva, 
you and me. Since the devotee has already surrendered to the 
Goddess and is on the path of dharma, the Mother will protect 
him as her own child. Now starts the real fight between the 
Devi and the lord of the asuras. To meet the challenge the 
Goddess heightens Her own rajas. However unlike 
Mahishasura's destructive and egoistic rage Her anger is 
divine or righteous anger that counters demoniac or 
unrighteous anger. Initially the practitioner counters lower 
order material rajas through higher order spiritual rajas. One 
has to remove a thorn with the help of another thorn, as the 
adage goes. We come across instances of the lion's fury too, in 
both the second and third episodes though more elaborately 
in the third episode. This is the sadhaka's spiritualized higher 
order rajas or sattvic rajas which counters the destructive 
influence of material lower order rajas of the asuras. The two 
faces of rajas is an interesting theme that the Devi 
Mahatmyam portrays time and again through powerful 
metaphors. 



128 



Mahishasura changing his form many times before 
finally being beheaded 

During the combat Mahishasura changes his form many 
times, undergoing a series of metamorphosis. This is the very 
nature of desire, of rajas. We think that we have rooted out a 
particular psychological compulsion only to discover that it 
still existent albeit in a different form. We move from one 
addiction to another, from one compulsive behaviour to 
another, as long as the original inner emotional issue is not 
resolved. The Devi's weapons appear ineffectual as long as 
Mahishasura keeps changing forms. She triumphs over him 
only when he emerges in his original form, as She pins him 
down under her foot. Only then does She behead him finally 
with Her sword, destroying the deadly combination of human 
competence and beastly nature. 

Mahishasura's episode reveals that through active struggle, 
through divine rajas, we can overcome enslavement to the 
indriyas, and live righteously in harmony with the world. It 
also reveals to us the two faces of rajas and the two kinds of 
wealth that we may seek in our lives. One is divine while the 
other is demoniac. Those who seek demoniac wealth take to 
the purely negative and demoniac expression of rajas and are 
deemed to be bound further and to suffer in the quagmire of 
perpetual desire, while those who take to a positive expression 
of rajas seek divine wealth and are eventually deemed for 
liberation from suffering of all kinds. 



Section 3 



Third Episode 



By the time we come to the third episode the demons are 
more complex and subtler. This time the chief demons are 
Sumbha (Asmita: "I"/ "Me", the pseudo-self) and Nisumbha 
(Mamata: "Mine", the attachment to things that the false self 
clings to) who along with their generals Canda (pra-vrtti or 
extraverted psychic energy), Munda (ni-vritti or introverted 
psychic energy), Dhumralochana (distorted perception) and 
Raktabija (citta vrttis or incessant compulsive thought 
processes), are a formidable force to reckon with. Overcoming 
these subtler demons requires a luminous, benevolent and 
beautiful manifestation, one that can enlighten and liberate. 
This is the manifestation as Maha Sarasvati predominated by 
Sattva. 

This myth too has a familiar beginning. Two demons, named 
Shumbha and Nishumbha, have dispossessed the gods, 
stripped them of their powers and appropriated their wealth 
and privilege. Then the gods go to mount Himalaya and extol 



the Unvanquished Aparajita Devi recalling Her assurance that 
She would intervene whenever remembered in times of 
misfortune. Synchronistically Parvati devi comes there at the 
same time to bathe in the waters of Ganga and enquires 
innocently as to whom the gods are extolling. An auspicious 
form of the Goddess, Kaushiki, emanates from the selfsame 
Parvati and answers that the hymn is addressed to her. 
Parvati becomes dark and is henceforth known as Kalika or 
Kali. She will play major role in the future course of events 
along with the auspicious form of Ambika. Thus the Goddess 
has two forms-one auspicious and the other terrible. Parvati's 
two forms remind us of Shiva who too has a terrible form as 
Rudra apart from his usual auspicious form. This twofold 
complementary nature of Divinity as both the auspicious and 
the terrible highlights the play of light and dark. Both are 
aspects of the Supreme Being. 

There are two other interesting phenomenon at work here. 
First is the phenomenon of Synchronicity. Parvati seems to 
come there by coincidence. Though seemingly a coincidence 
her arrival then and there is very meaningful. Meaningful 
coincidences are what Synchronicity is about. Synchronicity is 
behind not only oracular prognostication but also how prayers 
work. At times Divine intervention can be direct, displaying a 
seemingly causal relation to prayers and mantras. At other 
times Divine intervention occurs in a non-causal synchronistic 
manner. Either ways prayers work. Most importantly we are 
connected to everything else around us. Our minds and lives 



130 



are not separate from the minds and lives of others in the 
universe. There is underlying indivisible holistic unity. 

Secondly Parvati's innocent query suggests that she is not 
aware of what is happening, at least consciously. But surely, as 
an embodiment of the Supreme Goddess, wouldn't She be 
consciously aware? Though not conscious, the emanation of 
Kaushiki who answers Parvati is Her own Shakti, a projection 
of Her own unconscious powers. At an individual conscious 
level we have limited powers, limited by embodiment in a 
mind-body that constrain the otherwise unbounded and 
limitless reservoir of all powers. At an unconscious level we 
are potentially connected to the collective. There is oneness 
and abundant potential at this level. But in our normal waking 
state of consciousness we are largely unaware of our 
unbounded potential and our connection to the collective. In 
other states of consciousness such as dream, deep sleep and 
meditation we are better connected to this level. One may 
argue that this particular context in the Devi Mahatmyam 
involves the Goddess not a human being. However remember 
that everything about the gods and demons has relevance for 
us, for what happens in our own psyche. 

The Supreme Goddess is the Mother of the Universe, identical 
with the Brahman of Vedanta, and with the Atman of Yoga. 
But this is at the transcendental level. No doubt the Goddess 
is the Supreme Self, but She is also the collective Self. At the 
relative and phenomenal level, where there is awareness of 
one's own individual personality or ego, even Her 
manifestations follow the same law, the same order that is 



seen in the rest of the universe. The various emanations of the 
Goddess combine both the transcendental and phenomenal 
levels of truth to varying degrees. It may not be inappropriate 
to suggest that while ultimately at the transcendental level 
She is the Supreme Self or Brahman, in her manifestations as 
other goddesses She is also the Transcendental in the 
Phenomenal. In other words She is the Transcendental, She is 
the Phenomenal and She is also the Transcendental in the 
Phenomenal. This is the uniqueness of the Shakta world-view. 
Sri Ramakrishna describes how the relative or phenomenal 
emerges from the absolute or transcendental and falls back 
into it. Brahman may be compared to an infinite ocean, 
without beginning or end. Just as, some portions of the ocean 
freeze into ice through intense cold, and formless water 
appears to have form, so through intense love or faith of the 
devotee, Brahman appears to take on form and personality. 
But the form melts away again as the sun of Knowledge rises. 
Then the universe also disappears, and there is nothing but 
Brahman. 

The beautiful and auspicious Kaushiki form of the Goddess is 
all Sattva. Unlike the slayer of Mahishasura who is the 
collective embodiment of the divine anger or divine rajas of all 
the gods, Kaushiki is a Sattvic manifestation. This time the 
demons are even more sophisticated. Action, contemplation 
and knowledge are the three stages through which we have to 
pierce through the veil of Prakriti or three Gunas. Madhu- 
Kaitabha are the mala (dirt or waste) from Vishnu's ears and 
thereby predominantly represent Tamas. Mahishasura and 



131 



his generals represent Rajo-guna. But Shumbha-Nishumbha 
and their generals represent the limitation of buddhi, which is 
another name for sattva. The word sattva also denotes the 
mind apart from the guna of sattva. It is easy to understand 
why one has to overcome tamas and rajas as it is accepted that 
they are manasika doshas. But why is there a need to 
transcend even Sattva, one might ask. As described in the 
commentary on the first episode, the three gunas are part of 
the same cosmic process of manifestation, they are part of the 
same veiling power of Prakrti or Maha Maya. Together they 
form the three strands that bind us to ignorance. Since Sattva 
is potentially akin to a burnt rope, since it brings knowledge, 
initially the ascendancy of sattva is preferred over tamas and 
rajas. A rope that will sooner or later be burnt cannot bind us 
for long. But till it is fully burnt even this rope can be binding. 
We will examine this further using another analogy-that of a 
lantern. But first let us understand Shumbha and Nishumbha. 

The root word 'bha' in the names of Shumbha and Nishumbha 
means 'light'. However their light is not real like the light from 
the sun. It is merely reflected light. Just as Sun represents the 
self and light in astrological language, Moon represents the 
mind and reflected light. Sattva is another name for the mind. 
Buddhi is the highest function of the mind. However buddhi is 
not the same as the Self or Atman. Shumbha is none other 
than 'Asmita' (sense of T or 'Me'), the pseudo-self that 
identifies the self with non-self whereas Nisumbha represents 
Mamata (sense of 'Mine'), or the attachment to things that the 
false self clings to through identification with other objects. 



Nishumbha is the brother of Shumbha. One follows the other 
closely. Where there is this sense of T automatically there will 
be a sense of 'mine' as an extension of the false sense of 
selfhood. That is why Shumbha and Nishumbha are 
inseparable brothers. 

Patanjali (Yogasutra, 2.6) defines 'Asmita' as 
"dgdarsanasaktyorekatmatevasmita". 'Dg' is the Seer or 
Purusha or Pure Consciousness. 'Darsanasakti' denotes 'the 
power of observing', which is none other than Buddhi or 
'intellect'. 'Ekatmata' means identifying as one. In other words 
'Asmita' is the ignorance or mistake of identifying Buddhi as 
Purusha or Atman. In other words misidentification of the 
mind as the Self gives rise to a false sense of self. This false 
sense of self is 'Asmita'. Although it may seem that buddhi 
and purusha are identical, in reality they are not. This can be 
illustrated using the analogy of a lantern. If the Self is the wick 
or the source of light, buddhi is the glass chimney. From a 
distance though it appears as if the glass chimney is the 
source of the light, close observation will reveal the burning 
wick as the true source of light. Likewise a yogi whose 
consciousness is functioning beyond the manomaya kosha, 
knows that the mind is not identical with the Self as his 
consciousness has awakened to the level of the vignanamaya 
kosha. 

Buddhi is the instrument of intelligence that discerns, 
questions, reasons, determines and wills. Though buddhi is 
the highest faculty of the human mind and possesses the 
potential power of divine revelation, it is still a limited 



132 



manifestation of consciousness. Buddhi is also an evolute of 
Prakrti and thus cannot be identical to Purusha or 
Consciousness. The mind when viewed through the distorting 
lens of Avidya or ignorance, becomes the basis for a false 
sense of identity. This pseudo selfhood is 'Asmita'. The basis 
for 'asmita' is a false notion that buddhi is identical to the 
Atman. However an acutely focused Sattvic buddhi is very 
helpful in reflecting Self/ Consciousness just as a clear 
chimney can transmit the light of the wick very clearly. 

Since sattvic intellect can reflect the light of Consciousness 
clearly, it also poses the danger of an aspirant falsely thinking 
that he has attained the Atman, that he is Self-realized. A 
sattvic and refined intellect is undoubtedly very important for 
reflective thinking and discernment. However that is not the 
end of the path. Such a sattvic buddhi is of tremendous value 
in overcoming the tyranny of tamas and rajas. So in the earlier 
stages sattva is glorified. That which was desirable in the 
earlier stages in the past is detrimental in the present. Now 
even Sattva is an obstacle. 

If tamas can be compared to a brick wall and rajas to stormy 
winds that toss about the mind in a tempest, sattva is like a 
glass wall. One can see through a glass wall, but cannot walk 
through. What we see through the glass wall helps us in 
inferring the presence of the light on the other side. But to 
reach or merge with the source of the light one has to 
eventually overcome the glass wall too. This is where buddhi 
too fails. Moreover the false sense of selfhood at this stage can 
lead to subtler demons such as pride of knowledge, false pride 



in having attained the self, false sense of immortality, all 
arising from knowledge that is not truly ultimate. One starts 
taking pride in one's sadhana. In the place of pride in material 
riches, pride in spiritual riches starts swelling the ego. Earlier 
the pride was grosser, easily detectable and thereby easier to 
accept. Spiritual pride is subtler, not easily detected and hard 
to accept. 

In a way the aspirant at this stage has some achievements to 
his credit compared to others who are still struggling with 
grosser issues related to tamas or rajas. However as long as 
the klesas continue to afflict an individual suffering is a 
definite possibility. Asmita along with the sense of Mamatva, 
is among the five causes of suffering. Total freedom from 
suffering is not possible as long as there is this sense of T and 
'mine' which becomes the focal point for all citta vrttis. The 
tyranny of Shumbha and Nishumbha is subtler compared to 
the tyrrany of Mahishasura. Moreover Mahishasura did not 
seek the hand of the Devi, did not talk of marrying the 
Goddess. He just rushed to war compulsively, compelled by 
his fiery rajas. But Shumbha and Nishumbha being more 
advanced asuras, having some light in their nature, at least in 
so far as their ability to show at least reflected light, mistake 
that they are equal to the Goddess or even superior. That is 
why they confidently court a marriage proposal. But first how 
do they come to know of the Goddess? Through Chanda and 
Munda. What do these two asuras denote? Chanda means 
'fierce' or 'passionate' while Munda denotes a 'shaved head'. 



133 



Generally a shaved head is symbolic of vairagya or 
withdrawal. Vairagya can be true dispassion or it can also be 
sensitive withdrawal due to a bad experience. In the latter 
case it is not genuine vairagya but only withdrawal due to 
hurt, a negative reaction to an unpleasant experience. Here 
Munda being an asura, denotes reactive withdrawal from 
things that have been a source of suffering, not genuine 
vairagya. Chanda denotes 'passionate pursuit' while Munda 
denotes sensitive 'introverted withdrawal'. Here two specific 
behaviours have been selected to represent pra-vrtti and ni- 
vrtti, the two patterns of psychological and behavioural 
functioning. These two are the most common patterns of 
behaviour. One is hot pursuit of whatever is deemed attractive 
to the senses while the other is a sensitive withdrawal from 
those that hurt from past experience. These are the two 
principle movements of 'Asmita' the false sense of identity. 
One movement is outward exertion (pra-vrtti) while the other 
is inward withdrawal (ni-vrtti). Asmita reacts to external 
objects (be it people or material things) in one of these two 
manners. If my past experience or impression of the person or 
object is pleasant I pursue passionately. If it was unpleasant 
or hurtful I withdraw due to hurt, or in extreme cases I may 
develop intense dislike or hatred for the person or object. 
Thus pursuit and withdrawal are actually behavioural 
expressions or reactionary patterns to citta vrttis that trigger 
these two movements. Our responses to things or people fit 
into either of these patterns to varying degrees depending on 
the object in front of us. This is the symbolism of Chanda 



(Pravrtti or Extroverted Pursuit) and Munda (Introverted 
Withdrawal). 

Note: Chanda and Munda as Pra-vrtti and Ni-vrtti are not the 
same as Extraversion and Introversion. Extraversion and 
Introversion are psychological tendencies that are neither 
positive nor negative whereas the symbolism of Canda and 
Munda is related more to raga (infatuation or attachment) 
and dvesha (aversion or dislike), which are among the five 
afflicting kleshas in Yoga psychology. 

It is Canda and Munda who see the Devi first and carry this 
news to Shumbha. They tell Shumbha about the beautiful 
goddess whose radiance illuminates the Himalayas. They 
flatter Shumbha with an account of his riches and powers, all 
stolen from the gods. Playing upon Shumbha's vanity, they 
suggest that he who is all-wealthy and all-powerful surely 
must also possess this jewel among women. There is a 
misconception that pravrtti should be eschewed. At this level 
of sadhana we realise that nothing is good or bad in itself. 
Even those that are deemed negative can be transformed to 
serve us positively. This is the Shakta approach. "One must 
rise by that which one falls" as tantra affirms. Canda and 
Munda are asuric as long as they serve Asmita, the false self. 
But it is the selfsame Canda and Munda, the two movements 
of vrttis that initially turn our attention to the Devi (the 
Supreme Self), the same pravrtti that can pull us into bondage 
can initially attract us towards liberation, towards self- 
realisation, though initially only as another goal to be sought. 
Likewise the same nivrtti that repels us from things that can 



134 



cause suffering can bring true detachment or dispassion or 
genuine vairagya. As long as pravrtti and nivrtti serve the false 
self (Shumbha), they manifest as Raga (infatuation) and 
Dvesha (aversion), as Canda and Munda the two asuras. As 
already stated it is 'Pravrtti-Nivrtti' or the movement of citta 
vrttis that initially attracts us to self-realization, though as one 
more jewel to be sought. That is why Chanda and Munda 
bring news of the Devi (Supreme Self) who illuminates the 
Himalayas (gross body). 

Parvati taking abode in the Himalayas suggests that the gross 
body is not an inert thing but the abode of the Self that 
illumines the mind-body. Even the gods come down to the 
himalayas to extol the Divine Self. The mountain is not just an 
immovable lifeless object but the abode of the immovable Self, 
the unchanging consciousness. The goddess (Self) illumines 
not just the Himalayas (body) but the entire universe. Canda 
and Munda try to tempt Shumbha by telling him that there is 
something beyond buddhi. Though they haven't recognised 
the Devi (Self) entirely they are right in their initial 
impressions that She is unsurpassable, a jewel among the best 
jewels, one to be truly sought. All other riches and beauties 
pale in comparision to the Devi (Self). Though they are drawn 
to the Goddess they haven't yet recognised Her Divinity. Now 
that Shumbha's inherent craving to accumulate the best of 
everything has been kindled, he wishes to claim her as his 
own, just as we want to possess all that we find attractive and 
desirable. 



Shumbha first sends the smooth talking messenger Sugriva to 
court her. But is it possible to realise the Self only through 
intelligent words? No. But that is what we do after acquiring 
some knowledge. Mere eloquence or knowledge of the 
scriptures cannot bridge the gap between the Self and the 
false self. The Devi asks for nothing less than a combat 
between the Self (Devi) and the false self (Shumbha). 
Obviously the false self stands no chance. He would die at her 
hands. Indirectly the Devi is asking for nothing less than a 
sacrifice of the pseudo-self. How can one obtain the Supreme 
Self without the death of the false self? As expected the 
smooth talking Sugriva fails. Then he changes his tactics. He 
threatens to drag her by the hair. By sheer habit, we attempt 
to grab even the Self by the same worldly tactics. If smooth 
talking and diplomacy fail, we resort to force! Grabbing the 
Devi by the hair is also reminiscent of our initial approach to 
spirituality. Initially we pull the new found jewel of divinity 
into the world as if it were another thing to be possessed! We 
see it as one more resource, like any other worldly resource. 
Instead of rising to the level of the Self, we try to pull the 
spiritual to the level of the material world. But none of this 
will work. 

Next, Shumbha sends Dhumralochana to fetch the Devi, 
kicking and screaming if need be. Dhumralochana means 'one 
of smoky vision', thus denoting distorted perception. Can 
distorted perception succeed? False knowledge arising from 
faulty thinking or distorted perception disappears 
instantaneously in the presence of the Self (Devi) just as 



135 



darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. A mere 
humkara of the Devi is enough to kill Dhumralochana. And 
this is what happens precisely. 

When Dhumralochana's brute force fails, Shumbha loses all 
reason and sends Chanda and Munda with a huge army to 
bring back "that vile woman" in any way or in any condition 
whatever. Notice how Shumbha who was infatuated by "the 
jewel among women" now hates "that vile woman." This is 
how raga (infatuation) and dvesha (aversion) are related to 
each other. That which is very desirable today can become 
despicable tomorrow! This is the work of raga-dvesha, this is 
the work of Chanda-Munda! Though Canda and Munda 
initially act as afflicters, there is a possibility that one can 
sublimate their energies into friendly energies. Instead of 
serving the false self (Shumbha) Chanda and Munda can be 
made to serve the Supreme Self. But they have to be killed 
first before they lose their asuric identity. Death at the hands 
of Kali is symbolic of transformation. Once transformed by 
the fiery power of Kali they cease to be asuras. Thereafter they 
are merely an expression of our psychological energies, 
neutral energies that take the colour of our thoughts/ 
emotions. 

It is neither pravrtti nor nivrtti that is the problem. Yoga is the 
restraint or stilling of citta vrttis ("yogascittavttinirodha%", 
Yogasutra, l. 2). And how can we achieve this stilling of citta 
vrttis-only through constant practice and genuine detachment 
(vairagya), by constant practice (abhyasa) of non-reactivity 
(vairagya) (abhyasavairagyabhya. tannirodha%, Yogasutra, 1. 



12). Here is the key to the transformation of Canda and 
Munda. The power of pravrtti is channelized as abhyasa while 
nivrrti can become true vairagya. This is how one can kill 
Canda and Munda and transform their energies. In order to 
accomplish Goddess Ambika projects the terrible Kali from 
her own angry countenance. 

Kali devours the armies of demons, falling upon them 
impetuously and slaughtering the powerful demons. 
Devouring some, crushing others, chewing most frightfully 
with her teeth, she pounds the entire army of the mighty and 
wicked asuras. The image of grinding teeth that is invoked 
thrice (7.11, 7.13, 7.15) reminds us of the wheel of Time 
(Kalachakra) that grinds all things to dust. Except for a 
change of gender Kali is none other than Kala, who is 
described by Arjuna in the vision of the cosmic form in the 
Bhagavad Gita (11. 24-31). Lord Krishna further confirms it by 
affirming that he himself is the world destroying Kala engaged 
in destroying the world (kalo'smi lokakayaktpravddho 
lokansamahartumiha pravtta%, 11. 32). Thus Kali is the same 
as Kala. 

Kali accomplishes Her mission by severing the heads of Canda 
and Munda and delivering them to Chandika who is none 
other than Ambika. Since Kali brought the heads of Canda 
and Munda as battle trophies to the auspicious Chandika, Kali 
is henceforth famous as Chamunda. The destruction of 
Chanda and Munda needed the terrible Kali. But Shumbha 
and Nishumbha being more subtler spin-offs of intellect 
(buddhi) and ignorance (avidya), the auspicious and sattvic 

136 



form of the Goddess is need to liberate them. That is why Kali 
tells Ambika, "In this sacrifice of battle, here have I brought 
you the heads of Chanda and Munda the great beasts. 
Shumbha and Nishumbha, you shall yourself slay." Once 
again we have the Goddess talking to Herself as both the 
terrible as well as auspicious forms are two different aspects 
of the selfsame Mother Goddess. 

Upon news of the loss of two of his servants Canda and 
Munda, Shumbha marshals vast numbers of asuric hosts, clan 
by clan. Totally there are eight clans of demons who are 
marshalled by Shumbha. They are Udayudhas, Kambus, 
Kotiviryas, Dhaumras, Kalakas, Daurhrdas, Mauryas and the 
Kalakeyas. The eight asura clans represent the eight pasas. 
Pasa means 'bond'. According to Tantra Jiva or individual 
consciousness is bound by eight bonds or pasas. Jiva is 
limited by various constraints (kanchukas) and ashta pasas 
(eight bonds). When jiva becomes free of these constraints 
and limiting bonds, one becomes Shiva. One who is bound by 
Pasa (bond) is Jiva, while one who is free of the Pasas is 
Sadashiva ("Pasa Yukta Bhavet Jiva Pasa Mukta Sadashiva"). 
Sadhana is aimed at liberating individual consciousness (jiva) 
from these bonds. The boundless Consciousness is limited by 
these eight bonds giving rise to a false sense of self or 'Asmita'. 
That is why Shumbha (Asmita) calls upon the eight asura 
clans to fight on his behalf. This is the significance of the eight 
clans of asuras. The eight asura clans and the eight pasas or 
bonds are given below. 



Asura Sampradaya Corresponding Ashta Pasa or Eight Bonds 
Udayudhas ghrna: contempt Kambus lajja: shame Kotiviryas 
bhaya: fear Dhaumras shanka: doubt Kalakas jugupsa: disgust 
Daurhrdas kula: family, caste or group identity that becomes 
restrictive Mauryas shila: pride in one's morality that makes 
one judgmental towards others Kalakeyas jati: racial identity 
that leads to false pride and sense of superiority 

Though some of the above bonds appear harmless on the face 
of it, potentially they can all be very restrictive and harmful. 
Some of these bonds such as fear, doubt, contempt and 
disgust are limiting influences on our consciousness and its 
expression. The remaining bonds such as group identity, 
racial identity and pride in one's morality lead to arrogance or 
a false sense of superiority over others. These eight bonds 
contribute to as well as sustain the false self. Unlike grosser 
demoniac traits like anger and greed that the aspirant can 
recognise more easily, the eight pasas are subtler and 
influence even those who have achieved some success in 
sadhana. Even those who are at a relatively more advanced 
state and have some achievements to their credit, can fall prey 
to these eight binding factors. One doesn't have to be 
predominantly rajasic or tamasic to fall prey to the influence 
of the eight pasas. Even sattvic people can slip into these 
limited ways of thinking or living. Pride in one's family, birth, 
race, spiritual lineage, morality, sense of shame, fear, doubt, 
contempt or disgust towards other spiritual approaches, are 
all highly limiting and can cause closed thinking. This is the 
tyrranny of the eight clans of demons. To counter these eight 



137 



asuric forces, Chandika (the Supreme Self) calls forth seven 
Shaktis. These seven Shaktis along with Kali counter the eight 
clans of asuras. 

As the armies of the demons encircle Her, the Goddess 
multiplies Her forces calling forth seven Shaktis, who are 
seven aspects of our own consciousness. Thus Chandika and 
Kali, the twin aspects of the Goddess fighting the asuras, are 
now joined by the seven Shaktis of Brahma, Shiva, Kumara/ 
Skanda, Vishnu, Indra, Varaha and Narasimha. There issued 
forth Chandika's own terrifying Shakti, who came to be known 
as Shivaduti since she sent Lord Shiva himself as her 
messenger to the asura lords. Together the nine Shaktis 
destroy the mighty asuras in no time. Who are these 
goddesses? Each goddess presides over a particular aspect of 
our consciousness and is linked to a graha (planet) in 
astrology. The nine Goddesses and their functions as aspects 
of Consciousness are given below. 



Goddess or Shakti 


Graha 


Aspect or Function of 
Consciousness 


Chandika or Her Shakti 
'Shivaduti' 


Sun 


Soul or Self 


Maheshwari 


Moon 


Mind 


Narasimhi 


Mars 


Will 


Vaishnavi 


Mercury 




Brahmani 


Jupiter 




Aindri or Indrani 


Venus 




Kali or Chamunda 


Saturn 




Varahi 


Rahu 




Kaumari 


Ketu 





The asura clans have been killed. The eight pasas have been 
cut asunder. Even Canda and Munda are dead. With both 
Chanda (Pra-vrtti) and Munda (Ni-vrtti) dead, with both the 
outward and inward movements of citta vrttis having ceased, 
what remains to be done is only the stilling of the citta vrttis. 
Raktabija, who strides onto the battlefield after the death of 
Chanda and Munda, is none other than the citta vrttis. That 
Raktabija is symbolic of citta vrrtis, becomes clear when we 
examine his unique power- whenever a drop of his blood falls 
to earth, another demon of identical size and strength springs 
up. In the battle, innumerable demons proliferate from 
Raktabija's spilt blood, terrorising and bewildering the gods. 
This is the nature of citta vrttis or thought processes. Each 
vrtti leads to one more as thoughts multiply in geometric 
progression. The same is true of desire too. Though the gods 
are bewildered by the ever-multiplying citta vrttis, Durga 
laughs knowingly. Is it better to conquer one desire by nipping 
it in the bud or to satisfy a thousand desires? This is a serious 
question that every aspirant needs to reflect over at some 
stage or the other. 

Desire makes us human but it is also the source of all 
suffering. Desire is in the mind, as mental activity, as 
thoughts, as citta vrttis. When desire takes centre stage we 
often sit and watch helplessly wondering what we can do. 
How do we release from the endless cycle of desire, 
gratification or frustration? The gods too are bewildered and 
frustrated by the ever-multiplying Raktabija. Ambika knows 
the greatest truth of Yoga. Yoga is the stilling of citta vrttis 



(Yogasutra 1.2). The best and only efficient method is to 
overcome the first desire, or first thought, rather than have to 
fight a thousand more. Conquering the original desire will 
release us from this endless cycle of desire, gratification, 
disillusionment and frustration. The all knowing Candika 
instructs Kali to roam about on the battlefield quickly 
drinking the spilt drops of Raktabija's blood as she attacked 
him. As Kali drank Raktabija's blood simultaneously 
devouring the newly born demons who sprang from his spilt 
blood, the bloodless Raktabija died promptly. Finally, only 
two demons remain-Shumbha and Nishumbha. 

Shumbha and Nishumbha are the inseparable brothers. In a 
long battle sequence, the Goddess fights one-on-one first with 
Nishumbha, then with Shumbha, and again with Nishumbha. 
Nishumbha's character is not highlighted much so far apart 
from him being the younger brother of Shumbha, as dear as 
life itself to Shumbha. If Shumbha is 'Asmita' the false sense 
of self, Nishumbha is 'mamatva' or 'mamata'. Nishumbha is as 
dear as life itself to Shumbha because the identity of 'Asmita' 
the false sense of self , is shaped by its attachment (mamata) 
to body-mind, possessions, family and social roles, group 
affiliations, identity and beliefs too, among other adjuncts 
(upadhis). An upadhi is a defining attribute, a limiting 
qualification, a substitute, anything that maybe mistaken for 
something else. Thus while Shumbha represents subjective 
ego-awareness, Nishumbha represents the attachment to all 
its objective attributes. The Devi's battle sequence with the 
asura brothers is the inner conflict between the boundless Self 



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and the limited sense of self or the subjective and limited 
notion of identity. Being inextricably linked the two demon 
brothers 'Asmita' and 'mamatva' fight, one rising up when the 
other is knocked out. If it is not 'Me' it is about 'Mine'. If it is 
not about 'Me' it could be about 'My' children or spouse or 
family or country or religion. But in the final reckoning, all 
this is of little value. As already explained earlier although it 
may seem that buddhi and purusha are identical, in reality 
they are not. The Self (Atman) is not the same as non-self 
(anatman). It is ignorance (avidya) that gives rise to the 
mistaken notion that the non-self is identical to the Self. 
Avidya is so powerful, pervasive and subtle, and is the root of 
all other kleshas. It is avidya that makes us mistake buddhi, 
which is also an upadhi, for the Self. 

All these are appearances mistaken for reality-this is the 
actual definition for an upadhi. It becomes clear, when 
Nishumbha, in spite of all his apparent grandeur, is knocked 
senseless to the ground. Even so, he rises up in desperation, 
as a monster with ten thousand arms, suggestive of desperate 
grasping or clinging to the the countless fragments of all that 
one considers as one's own, the countless notions of 'mine' 
that sustain the notion of a separate self, that only serves to 
separate us from the Infinite One. This desperate instinctive 
grasping or cliniging to the attachments of the limited self or 
ego-awareness is the final klesha, Abhinivesha. Abhinivesha is 
the most basic attachment to life that all living beings 
instinctually possess. It manifests as fear of death, as fear of 
death of one's individual existence, as fear of death of one's 



individuality, as fear that desperately clings to the 
innumerable fragments of non-self as the Self. All this is 
because of the misidentification of the Self with the ever- 
changing Prakrti or material nature. 

As the Goddess (Self) penetrates the ten thousand armed 
monster's (Abhinivesha's) heart, the demon's essence appears 
one final time, pleading for the Goddess to stop, indicating 
how unrelentingly one clings because of this klesha. However 
no upadhi can last truly till the end before the Devi's sword of 
knowledge (gnana). Finally as She slays him, only Shumbha is 
left all alone, stripped of all the false things that he has 
identified himself with all along. With no other support 
Shumbha, the false self has to battle it out alone. The first six 
verses of the tenth chapter drive home the crux of the entire 
third episode. 

Shumbha addresses the Devi as Durga (10.3), reminding us 
that She is the selfsame Goddess who killed Mahishasura 
earlier on in the second episode. Shumbha, the false self, is 
based on the erroneous notion of multiplicity and 
individuality. Shumbha sees only multiplicity and cannot 
recognise the unity of all existence. Perplexed by the multiple 
names used to refer to the Goddess-Devi, Chandika, Ambika, 
Kali, Chamunda, Brahmani, Maheshwari, Kaumari, 
Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasimhi, Aindri and a host of other 
names throughout the text, one might possibly forget that 
there is only one Goddess in the entire narrative. Shumbha 
too fails to recognise that the Devi is indeed one without a 
second. He refuses to recognise the unity of all existence as he 



141 



chides Her for depending on the strength of others. 
Thereupon the Devi reveals that she is one without a second, 
saying "I alone exist in this universe. Who else is there besides 
me?" (10.5). This is the great dictum, the Mahavakya of the 
Devi Mahatmyam. 

Following this proclamation of divine unity, She affirms that 
the many manifestations, are but projections of Her own 
power, as are all other forms she inhabits (10. 8). The truth of 
infinite Being and Oneness cannot be appreciated by the false 
self, for how can the false or individual self exist if it can 
realise Oneness? How can the limited notion of individuality 
exist alongside the unbounded, infinite Self? This is the 
delusional power of Mahamaya. Just as all the divine 
manifestations are projections of the Goddess, all the asuras 
are also projections of Asmita. Now that Shumbha is all alone, 
denuded of all the multiple projections of individual ego- 
awareness, the climax of the battle is between the limited self 
and the Supreme Self. But it is not a battle between equals 
though it looks like one on the face of it. 

After exhausting all weapons, Shumbha and the Devi fight 
hand to hand in mid-air as never before, to the astonishment 
of the saints and sages! The combat with Shumbha is the 
rarest one, as Asmita is extremely elusive and stubborn. But 
the Devi's Sattvic power can overcome the mightiest asuric 
force though after a short-lived play of power. Their battle is 
symbolic of a spiritual struggle that is beyond the realm of day 
to day existence. This is the significance of the metaphor of 
fighting in mid-air. Eventually the Devi kills him by piercing 



the asura with Her spear of knowledge (gnana). The death of 
Asmita, the false self, or limited ego-awareness, is nothing but 
the relinquishing of a limited identity. But in losing this 
limited identity one gains an unimaginably greater one-that of 
the Supreme Being. This final victory represents the 
realization of the true Self, the end of all multiplicity, the 
steady experience of Oneness, and the passage from an ever- 
changing becoming to Pure Awareness or Being. Finally one 
can now join the seer of the Svetasvatara Upanishad in 
affirming, "I know the unchanging, primeval One, the 
indwelling Self of all things, existing everywhere, all 
pervading, whom the wise declare to be eternal, free from 
birth" (3. 21). 



142 



Section 4 

Middle episode 
(Madhyama Caritra) - 
Chapters 2, 3 and 4 



The second episode of the glory of the Goddess is constituted 
by the second, third and fourth chapters-'The Slaughter of 
Mahishasura's Armies', 'The Slaying of Mahishasura' and 'The 
Devi Stuti', respectively. The second episode narrates how the 
mother Goddess helped the gods by killing Mahishasura who 
took many different forms, including that of a buffalo. 

Chapter 2 

Of yore when Mahishasura was the lord of asuras and Indra 
the lord of devas, there was a war between the devas and 
asuras for a full hundred years. In that the army of the gods 
was vanquished by the mighty demons. After conquering all 
the devas, Mahisasura became the lord of heaven. Driven 
away from their homes the vanquished devas headed by 
Brahma, the father of beings, went to the place where Siva and 
Vishnu were. The devas then narrated the story of their defeat 



wrought by Mahishasura in detail. "He (Mahishasura) himself 
has assumed the jurisdictions of Surya, Indra, Agni, Vayu, 
Chandra, Yama and Varuna and of other gods too. Thrown out 
from heaven by that evil-natured Mahisha, the hosts of devas 
wander on the earth like mortals. All that has been done by 
the enemy of the devas, has been related to you both, we seek 
shelter under you both. May both of you be pleased to think 
out the means of his destruction". Thus spoke the devas. 

Vishnu and Siva were greatly angered on hearing the tyranny 
of Mahishasura. As their faces became fierce with frowns 
there issued forth a great light from the face of Vishnu who 
was full of intense anger, and from that of Brahma and Siva 
too. A very great light sprang forth from the bodies of Indra 
and other devas as well. All this light united together. The 
devas saw there a concentration of light like a mountain 
blazing excessively, pervading all the quarters with its flames. 
Then that unique light, produced from the bodies of all the 
devas, pervading the three worlds with its lustre, combined 
into one and became a female form; the manifestation of the 
lights of other devas too combined into the auspicious being 
of the Goddess. Then looking at her, who had come into being 
from the assembled lights of all the devas, the immortals who 
were oppressed by Mahishasura experienced great joy. 

Drawing forth a trident from his own trident Shiva presented 
it to her; Vishnu brought forth a discus out of his own discus 
and gave it to her. Varuna gave her a conch, Agni a spear; and 
Maruta gave a bow as well as two quivers full of arrows. Indra, 
lord of devas, bringing forth a thunderbolt out of his own 



143 



thunderbolt and a bell from that of his elephant Airavata, gave 
them to her. Yama gave a staff from his own staff of death and 
Varuna, the lord of waters, gave her a noose. Brahma, the lord 
of beings, gave a string of beads and a water-pot. Surya placed 
his own rays on all the pores of her skin, while Kala gave her a 
sword and a spotless shield. The milky ocean gave her the best 
ornaments and garments, Vishwakarma gave her a brilliant 
axe, various missiles and an unbreakable armour. The ocean 
gave her unfading lotus garlands to wear and a very beautiful 
lotus to be held in her hand. Himavan gave her various gems 
and the lion as her vehicle. Kubera the lord of wealth gave her 
a drinking cup always full of celestial wine. 

Honoured with ornaments and weapons by the remaining 
gods too, the Goddess roared with loud laughter again and 
again. The entire sky was filled with her immeasurable 
stupendous roar and great was the echo that reverberated. All 
the worlds were frenzied and the oceans raged. The earth 
quaked and the mountains rocked in the wake of the Warrior 
Goddess, the great unity of the innate powers (saktis) of all 
the gods. "Victory to you," exclaimed the gods in joy to her, 
the lion-rider. The sages extolled her bowing their bodies in 
salutation. Seeing the three worlds agitated the foes of the 
gods, marshalled all their armies and rose up together with 
uplifted weapons. Exclaiming in wrath, Mahishasura rushed 
towards that sound, accompanied by innumerable asuras. 
Then he saw the Goddess pervading the three worlds with her 
effulgence. Making the earth bend with her footstep, scraping 
the sky with her diadem, shaking the nether worlds with the 



twang of the bow-string, she stood there covering all the 
quarters with her thousand arms. 

Then began the battle between that Devi and the enemies of 
the devas, in which the quarters of the sky were illumined by 
various arrows and missiles hurled at each other. She, the 
Goddess Durga, the embodiment of the lethal energy of divine 
anger turned against evil, set herself to destroy the armies of 
Mahishasura. Mahisasura's general, a great asura named 
Chiksura and Chamara fought, equipped with the fourfold 
complement of armies of asuras. A great asura named Udagra 
with sixty thousand chariots, and Mahahanu with ten million 
chariots waged the battle. Asiloman, another great asura, with 
fifteen million chariots and Baskala with six millions fought in 
that battle. Privarita with many thousands of elephants and 
horses, and encircled by ten million chariots, fought in that 
battle. An asura named Bidala fought in that battle 
surrounded by five billion chariots. And other great asuras, 
thousands in number, surrounded with chariots, elephants 
and horses fought with the Devi in that battle. 

Mahisasura was encircled by many billions chariots, horses 
and elephants in that battle. Other asuras too fought in the 
battle against the Devi with iron maces and javelins, with 
spears and clubs, with swords, battle-axes and halberds. Some 
hurled spears and others nooses. They began to strike her 
with swords in order to kill her. Showering her own weapons 
and arms, Goddess Chandika too, quite playfully, cut into 
pieces all those weapons and arms. With gods and sages 
extolling her, showing no signs of fatigue on her face, the 



144 



Goddess Isvari hurled her weapons and arms at the bodies of 
the asuras. The mount of the Goddess, the lion, shaking its 
mane in rage, stalked amidst the armies of the asuras like a 
blazing forest fire. The sighs which the Goddess Ambika, 
fighting in the battle, heaved became at once her battalions by 
hundreds and thousands. 

Energized by the power of the Devi, these battalions fought 
with battle-axes, javelins, swords and halberds, destroying the 
asuras. Of these battalions, some beat drums, some blew 
conches and others played on tabors in that great martial 
festival. The Goddess killed hundreds of asuras with her 
trident, mace, showers of spears, swords and the like, and 
threw down others who were stupefied by the noise of her 
bell. Binding others with her noose, she dragged them on the 
ground. Some were split into two by the sharp fall of her 
sword, and others, smashed by the blows of her mace, lay 
down on the ground while some who were severely hammered 
by the pestle vomited blood. Pierced in the breast by her 
trident, some fell on the ground. 

In the battlefield, the asuras who afflicted the gods were 
caught in a flood of arrows and were pierced all over by 
arrows. Resembling porcupines, they breathed their last. 
Some had their arms cut off, some others their necks. Heads 
of others rolled down while some others were torn asunder in 
the middle of their trunks. Some great asuras fell on the 
ground with their legs severed. Some rendered one-armed, 
one-eyed, and one-legged were again rent into two by the 
Goddess. And others, though rendered headless, fell and rose 



again. Some of these headless trunks danced there in the 
battlefield to the rhythm of the battle drums. The trunks of 
some other great asuras whose heads had been severed just 
then, shouted at the Devi "Stop, stop", with their swords, 
spears and lances still in their hands. 

That part of the earth where the battle was fought became 
impassable with the asuras, elephants and horses and chariots 
that had been felled. Streams of blood from the asuras, 
elephants and horses flowed immediately like large rivers 
amidst that army of the asuras. As fire consumes a huge heap 
of straw and wood, so did Ambika destroy that vast army of 
asuras in no time. And her carrier-lion, thundering aloud with 
quivering mane, prowled about in the battlefield, appearing to 
search out the vital breaths from the bodies of the enemies of 
the gods. In that battlefield the battalions of the Goddess 
fought in such a manner with the asuras that the gods were 
pleased and showered flowers from heaven. 

Thus ends the second chapter - 'Slaughter of the armies of 
Mahisasura'-of Devi-Mahatmya in Markandeya Purana. 

Chapter 3 

Seeing that army being slain, Ciksura, the great asura general, 
proceeded in anger to fight with Ambika. The asura rained 
showers of arrows on the Goddess in battle just as a cloud 
showers rain on the peak of Mount Meru. Then the Goddess 
playfully cutting asunder the volley of arrows, killed his horses 
and their driver with her arrows. Forthwith she broke his bow 
and banner flying aloft, and with swift arrows she pierced the 

145 



body of that asura whose bow had been broken. His bow 
shattered, his chariot smashed, his horses killed and his 
charioteer slain, the asura armed with sword and shield 
jumped at the Goddess. Swiftly he struck the lion on the head 
with his sharp-edged sword and hit the Devi also on her left 
arm. His sword broke into pieces as soon as it touched her 
arm. Eyes reddened with anger he took the spear and hurled 
the resplendent weapon at Bhandrakali, as though he was 
hurling the very orb of sun from the skies. Seeing the spear 
coming upon her, the Devi hurled her spear. It shattered his 
spear into a hundred pieces, as it did likewise with the great 
asura. 

When the very valiant general of Mahisha, was slain, Camara, 
the afflictor of the gods came forward mounted on an 
elephant. He too hurled his lance at the Devi. Ambika quickly 
assailed it with a grunt, made it lustreless and fall to the 
ground. Seeing his lance broken and fallen, Camara, full of 
rage, hurled a spear, and she broke that also with her arrows. 
Then the lion, leaping up and seating itself at the centre of the 
elephant's forehead, engaged itself in a hand to hand fight 
with that enemy of the gods. Fighting, the two then came 
down to the earth from the back of the elephant, and fought 
very animatedly dealing each other terrible blows. Then the 
lion, springing up quickly to the sky, and descending, severed 
Camara's head with a blow of its paw. 

Udagra was killed in the battle by the Devi with rocks, trees 
and the like. Karala was brought down by her teeth, fists and 
slaps. Enraged, the Devi pulverised Uddhata with the blows of 



her mace. She killed Baskala with a javelin and destroyed 
Tamra and Andhaka with arrows. The three-eyed Supreme 
Isvari killed Ugrasya, Ugravirya and Mahahanu too with her 
trident. With her sword she struck down Bidala's head from 
his body, and dispatched both Durdhara and Durmudha to 
the abode of Death with her arrows. 

Seeing his army being destroyed thus, Mahisasura terrified 
the troops of the Devi with his buffalo form, hitting some by 
muzzle, trampling some by the hooves, lashing at some with 
his tail, and tearing others with his horns. Some he laid low on 
the face of the earth by sheer speed, some by his bellowing 
and wheeling movement, and others by the blast of his breath. 
Having laid low her army, Mahisasura rushed to slay the lion 
of the great goddess. This enraged Ambika. He too, of great 
valour, pounded the terrain with his hooves in rage, tossed 
about the mountains with his horns, and bellowed terribly. 
Crushed by his whirling speed, the earth crumbled to pieces. 
Lashed by his tail, the ocean flooded everywhere. Pierced by 
his swaying horns, the clouds went into pieces. His heaving 
breath lifted the mountains up in the sky in hundreds and 
brought them down. 

Seeing the great asura bloated with rage advancing towards 
her, Chandika assumed an angry mood in order to slay him. 
She flung her noose over the great asura and bound him. Thus 
bound in the great battle, he relinquished his buffalo form. 
Then suddenly he became a lion. As soon as Ambika cut the 
head off, he took the appearance of a man with sword in hand. 
Immediately the Goddess cut asunder the man along with his 

146 



sword and shield. Then he became a huge elephant and pulled 
her lion with his trunk roaring loudly. As he was dragging, the 
Devi cut off his trunk with her sword. The great asura then 
resumed his buffalo form and shook the three worlds with 
their movable and immovable objects. 

An enraged Chandika, the Mother of the worlds, quaffed again 
and again a superb drink, her eyes becoming red. The asura 
too intoxicated with his strength and valour roared and threw 
mountains at Chandika with his horns. She reduced those 
mountains to powder with a volley of arrows. She spoke to 
him, her words faltering and the colour of her face rising due 
to the intoxication of the drink. The Goddess said, "Roar, roar, 
O fool, for a moment till I drink this wine. Soon the gods are 
going to roar in this very place, when you get slain by me". 
Exclaiming thus, she jumped and landed herself on that great 
asura, crushing his neck under her foot and struck him with 
her spear. Thereupon, caught under her foot, Mahishasura 
managed to emerge partly from his own buffalo mouth. Being 
completely overcome by the valour of the Goddess only half of 
his self could emerge. Fighting thus with his half-revealed 
form, the great asura was beheaded and slain by the Goddess 
with the sword. Then, crying in consternation, the entire army 
of asuras perished. The entire hosts of gods exulted at this. 
The gods along with the divine seers lauded the Goddess, the 
gandharva chiefs sang and the bevies of apsaras danced in 
celebration of Mahishasura's end. 

Thus ends the third chapter -'The Slaying of Mahishasura'-of 
Devi-Mahatmya in Markandeya Purana. 



Chapter 4 

When the most valiant and wicked Asura and his armies were 
slain by the Goddess, the hosts of gods headed by Indra 
lauded her, their necks and shoulders reverently bent, and 
bodies rendered beautiful with horripilation and exultation. 

This is the longest and most eloquent of the Devi 
Mahatmyam's four hymns. Known as the Shakradistuti 
(praise by Indra and the host of gods), it illumines the themes 
of good and evil, fate and free will, karma and divine grace. 
This hymn constitutes the fourth chapter of the Devi 
Mahatmyam. The hymn praises Durga as "good fortune in the 
dwellings of the virtuous and misfortune in the abodes of the 
wicked." While this verse explicitly entails reward and 
punishment by a personal deity, implicitly it points to an 
impersonal balancing principle at work in the universe-the 
law of karma. Either ways the message is the same: our deeds 
have consequences. The hymn further proclaims that the 
Mother's intentions are most gracious even toward evildoers. 
Her nature is to subdue the misconduct of the wicked. 
Through her inconceivable grace, even wrongdoers who have 
committed great evils that may well ensure them of long 
torments for their evil deeds are purified in battle by the touch 
of her weapons and are brought to beatitude. In destroying 
the demons the Goddess destroys the evil samskaras within 
us. 



147 



Thus the supporter of the worlds was praised and worshipped 
with celestial flowers, perfumes, unguents and heavenly 
incense by the devas. Benignly serene in countenance she 
spoke to the obeisant gods. The Devi said, "O devas, choose 
whatever you desire of me". The gods responded, "Since our 
enemy, this Mahishasura, has been slain by you, O Bhagavati 
everything has been accomplished, and nothing remains to be 
done. And if a boon is to be granted to us by you, O 
Maheshvari, whenever we think of you again, please destroy 
our direct calamities. And, O Mother of spotless countenance, 
whatever mortal shall praise you with these hymns, may you, 
who have become gracious towards us, also be gracious to him 
and bless him to be fortunate, O Ambika!" Goddess 
Bhadrakali who was thus propitiated by the gods for their own 
sake and that of the world, said "Be it so" and vanished from 
their sight. 

Thus ends the fourth chapter -'The Devi Stuti'-of the Devi- 
Mahatmya in Markandeya-Purana. 



Section 5 



Final episode (Uttama 
Caritra) - Chapters 5 to 13 



In the final episode referred to as the uttama caritra, sage 
Medhas narrates the story of the demons Shumbha and 
Nishumbha. This time the cast of characters is much larger 
and the metaphorical significance is subtle but not difficult to 
comprehend. This story too has a familiar beginning. 

Chapter 5 

Two demons, named Shumbha and Nishumbha, have 
dispossessed the gods, stripped them of their powers and 
appropriated their wealth and privilege. Indra's sovereignty 
over the three worlds and his portions of the sacrifices are 
taken away by the Shumbha and Nishumbha, by force of their 
pride and strength. The two powerful demons take over 
likewise, the offices of the Surya, Chandra, Kubera, Yama, and 
Varuna. The same happens to Vayu's and Agni's portfolios as 
well. 



Deprived of their lordships and sovereignties, expelled by the 
two mighty asuras, the gods thought of the invincible Devi. 
"She had granted us the boon: 'Whenever in calamities you 
think of me, that very moment I will put an end to all your 
worst calamities'". Resolving thus, the devas went to Himavat, 
lord of the mountains, and there extolled the Devi, who is the 
illusive power of Vishnu. 

This is the third hymn in the text. Also known as Aparajita- 
stuti or Tantrika Devi Suktam, in this hymn there are more 
than twenty slokas beginning with 'ya devi sarva bhuteshu', 
indicating that the devi is present in all creatures as 
consciousness, as power, as intellect, as memory, as sleep, as 
delusion, as desire, as activity, as prosperity, as forgiveness, as 
faith, as loveliness, and so on, reminding us of the Vibhuti 
Yoga of Gita. This beautiful hymn is a powerful meditation by 
itself, a combination of meditation, affirmation and mantra. 

The devas said: 'Salutations to the Devi, to the Mahadevi. 
Salutations always to her who is ever auspicious. Salutation to 
her who is the Primordial Prakrti and the ever Benign. To 
Thee we offer our humble obeisance..." 

While the gods were thus engaged in extolling the 
Unvanquished (Aparajita) Goddess, Parvati came there to 
bathe in the waters of the Ganga. She, the lovely-browed, 
enquired of the gods, "Who is she that is being extolled here?" 
An auspicious goddess, sprung forth from her body sheath 
(kosha) and spoke, "This hymn is addressed to me by the 
assembled devas routed in battle and set at naught by the 



149 



asuras Shumbha and Nishumbha." Because that Goddess 
emerged from Parvati's body sheath (kosa:sheath), she is 
glorified as Kaushiki in all the worlds. After she had issued 
forth, Parvati became dark and was called Kalika (dark) and 
took her abode on mount Himalaya. 

Then, Chanda, and Munda, the servants of Shumbha and 
Nishumbha, saw Ambika (Kausiki) who had assumed a 
surpassingly charming form. They both told Shumbha: 'O 
great king, a certain woman, most surpassingly beautiful, 
resides there shedding lustre on mount Himalaya. Nobody 
has ever seen such supreme beauty anywhere. Ascertain who 
that Goddess is and take possession of her, O Lord of the 
asuras! A gem among women, of exceedingly lovely limbs, 
stands, making the quarters luminous by her lustre. You 
ought to see her. O Lord, whatever things are there in the 
three worlds, all of them, gems, jewels, elephants, horses etc., 
are now in your mansion. You have seized every precious 
possession from the likes of Indra, Brahma, Kubera, Varuna, 
and Yama. Nishumbha has all kinds of gems born in the 
ocean. Agni too given you a pair of garments purified by fire. 
Thus, O Lord of asuras, all gems have been seized by you. Why 
this auspicious lady, a jewel among women has not been taken 
by you?" 

On hearing these words of Chanda and Munda, Shumbha sent 
the great asura Sugriva as messenger to the Goddess. He said, 
"Go and tell her thus in my words and do the thing in such a 
manner that she may quickly come to me in love". 



Sugriva went to the very beautiful spot on the mountain where 
the Devi was and spoke to her in fine and sweet words. The 
messenger said, "O Devi, Shumbha, lord of asuras, is the 
supreme sovereign of the three worlds. Sent by him as 
messenger, I have come here to your presence. Hearken to 
what has been said by him, who has vanquished all the foes of 
the asuras and whose command has never been transgressed 
even by the devas. He says 'All the three worlds are mine and 
the devas are obedient to me. We look upon you, O Devi, as 
the jewel of womankind in the world. You who are such, come 
to me, since we are the enjoyers of the best objects. Take to 
me or to my younger brother Nishumbha of great prowess, O 
lady of wavering glance, for you are in truth a jewel. Wealth, 
great and beyond compare, you will get by accepting me. 
Think over this in your mind, and become my wife'." 

Durga the adorable and auspicious, by whom this universe is 
supported, said serenely, "You have spoken truth; nothing 
false has been uttered by you in this matter. Shumbha is 
indeed the sovereign of the three worlds and likewise is also 
Nishumbha. But how can that which has been promised go 
false? Hear what promise I had made already in my 
immaturity. 'He who conquers me in battle, vanquishes my 
pride and is my match in strength in the world shall be my 
husband'. So let Shumbha come here or Nishumbha of great 
strength. Vanquishing me here let him easily win my hand in 
marriage. Why delay?" 

The messenger said, "O Devi, you are haughty. Talk not so 
before me. Which man in the three worlds dare stand before 



150 



Shumbha and Nishumbha? All the devas verily cannot stand 
face to face with even the other asuras in battle. Why mention 
you, O Devi, a single woman? When the gods headed by Indra 
could not stand in battle against Shumbha and other demons, 
how will you, a woman, face them? On my word alone, you go 
to Shumbha and Nishumbha. Let it not be that you go to them 
with your dignity lost by being dragged by your hair". 

The Goddess said, "It is true. Shumbha is strong and so is 
Nishumbha . What can I do since there stands my ill- 
considered vow taken long ago? Go back, and tell the lord of 
asuras carefully all that I have said. Let him then do whatever 
he considers proper". 

Thus ends the fifth chapter - 'Devi's conversation with the 
messenger'-of the Devi-Mahatmya in Markandeya-Purana. 

Chapter 6 

Hearing the words of the Devi, the indignant messenger 
hastened back and related them in detail to the king of the 
daityas. Hearing the report from his messenger, the enraged 
asura monarch told Dhumralochana, a chieftain of the 
daityas, "O Dhumralochana, hasten together with your army 
and fetch that shrew here by force, unnerving her by dragging 
her by her hair. If anyone else stands up as her saviour, let 
him be slain, be he a god, a yaksa or a gandharva." 

As commanded by Shumbha, the asura Dhumralochana, 
marched past quickly, accompanied by sixty thousand asuras. 
On seeing the Goddess stationed on the snowy mountain, he 



shouted, "Set out to the presence of Shumbha and 
Nishumbha. If you do not go to my master now with love, I 
shall take you by force, unnerving you by dragging you by the 
hair." The Goddess replied, "You have been sent by the lord of 
the daityas. You are strong and backed by an army. If you take 
me by force what can I do?" 

On hearing her words, Dhumralochana rushed towards her. 
The Goddess reduced the demon to ashes by a mere heave of 
her breath (humkara). Seeing Dhumralochana turned to 
ashes, the enraged army of demons showered on Ambika 
sharp arrows, lances and battle-axes. Then the lion, the mount 
of the Goddess, shook its mane in anger and roaring most 
terrifyingly, pounced on the army of asuras. It slaughtered 
some demons striking with its paw, tearing out the bellies of 
some with its claws, others with its mouth, and some by a 
stampede with its hind legs. In a moment, the entire army was 
destroyed by the enraged and noble lion that bore the 
Goddess as her vehicle. 

Hearing that the demon Dhumralochana was slain by the 
Goddess and that the entire army was destroyed by the lion of 
the Goddess, Shumbha, the lord of the asuras became furious. 
His lips quivering, he commanded the two mighty asuras 
Chanda and Munda, "O Chanda, O Munda, go there with large 
forces, and quickly bring her here, dragging her by her hair or 
binding her. If you are unsure of that, then let the asuras 
strike her in battle with all the weapons. When that shrew is 
wounded and her lion stricken down, seize that Ambika, bind 
her and bring her quickly". 



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Thus ends the sixth chapter - 'The Slaying of Dhumralochana' 
-of Devi-Mahatmya in Markandeya Purana. 

Chapter 7 

Then at his command the asuras headed by Chanda and 
Munda, marched in fourfold array, fully armed. They saw the 
Devi, smiling gently, seated upon the lion on a lofty golden 
peak of the great mountain. On seeing her, some of them got 
excited and made an effort to capture her, and others 
approached her, with their swords drawn and bows bent. 
Thereupon Ambika became terribly angry with those foes, and 
in her anger her countenance then became dark as ink. 
Suddenly, Kali of the terrible countenance, armed with a 
sword and noose, emerged forth from the surface of Ambika's 
forehead that was fierce with a frown. Holding a strange skull- 
topped staff, decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a 
tiger's skin, very appalling due to her emaciated body, with a 
gaping mouth and tongue lolling out fearfully, with deep-sunk 
reddish eyes, she filled the quarters with her roars. 

Kali devoured the army of the foes of the gods, falling upon 
them impetuously and slaughtering the great asuras in that 
army. Devouring some, crushing others, chewing most 
frightfully with her teeth, she pounded the entire army of the 
mighty wicked asuras. Seeing the entire army of asuras laid to 
the ground in a moment, Canda ran towards the terrible Kali. 
While Canda showered arrows at her, Munda hurled discuses 
in thousands at her eyes. The numerous discuses entering her 
mouth shone like so many orbs of the Sun as Kali just 



swallowed them. Laughing fiercely, Kali of the terrible 
countenance mounted the great lion and rushed at Chanda. 
Seizing him by his hair, she severed his head with her sword. 
Seeing Chanda being slain, Munda also rushed at her. Striking 
him furiously with her sword, she felled him too to the 
ground. 

Seeing the most valiant Chanda and Munda vanquished, the 
remaining army became panicky and fled in all directions. 
And Kali, holding the heads of Chanda and Munda in her 
hands, approached Chandika and said, "In this sacrifice of 
battle, here have I brought you the heads of Chanda and 
Munda the great beasts. Shumbha and Nishumbha, you shall 
yourself slay." Thereupon, seeing the two great asuras Chanda 
and Munda brought to her, the auspicious Chandika, said to 
Kali these playful words, "As you have brought me both 
Chanda and Munda, you O Devi, shall be famed in the world 
by the name Chamunda. 

Thus ends the seventh chapter - 'The slaying of Chanda and 
Munda' -of Devi-Mahatmya in Markandeya Purana. 

Chapter 8 

When Chanda and Munda were laid low and many of the 
battalions of the asuras destroyed, the lord of the asuras, the 
mighty Sumbha, with intellect clouded by rage, commanded 
the marshalling of all the asura armies. "Now, let the eighty- 
six Udayudhas with all their forces and uplifted weapons, and 
the eighty-four Kambus, along with their own forces, set out 
for battle. Let the fifty asura families of Kotiviryas and the 

152 



hundred families of Dhaumras go forth at my command. 
Likewise let the asura clans, Kalakas, Daurhrdas, the Mauryas 
and the Kalakeyas hasten at my command and march forth 
ready for battle". Issuing these orders, Sumbha, the lord of the 
asuras, the cruel despot, set out surrounded thousands of 
huge forces. 

Seeing that most terrible army advancing, Chandika filled the 
space between the earth and the sky with twangs of her bow- 
string. Thereon her lion roared very loudly. Ambika amplified 
those sounds with the clanging of the bell. Filling the quarters 
with roars from her gaping mouth, Kali suffused the sounds of 
the bow-string, lion and bell by her terrific roars. On hearing 
that roar the infuriated armies of the asuras surrounded the 
lion, the Goddess (Chandika) and Kali on all the four sides. 
Meanwhile, in order to ensure the annihilation of the enemies 
of the gods and also for the well-being of the great gods, there 
issued forth, endowed with exceeding valour and strength, 
Shaktis from the bodies of Brahma, Shiva, Guha, Vishnu and 
Indra, Whatever was the form of the Godhead, whatever his 
ornaments and vehicle, in that very form his Shakti advanced 
to fight the asuras. 

In a heavenly chariot yoked by swans came Brahma's Shakti 
carrying a rosary and water-pot (kamandalu). She is called 
Brahmani. Maheshvari arrived, mounted on a bull, holding 
the great trident, with huge serpents for bangles, with the 
digit of the moon as an ornament. The mother Kaumari came 
in the form of Guha, riding on a fine peacock wielding the 
spear in her hand, to attack the asuras. Likewise seated upon 



Garuda, holding conch, club, bow and sword in hand, came 
Vaishnavi, the Shakti of Vishnu. Varahi, who assumed the 
incomparable form of Hari as the sacrificial boar, also came. 
Narasmihi too arrived, assuming a form like that of 
Narasmiha, half-woman and half-lioness, bringing down the 
constellations by the toss of her mane. Likewise the thousand- 
eyed Aindri, holding a thunderbolt in hand and riding on the 
lord of elephants arrived just like Indra. Thereupon Shiva, 
surrounded by those shaktis of the devas, said to Chandika, 
"Let the asuras be killed forthwith by you for my 
gratification". Then, from the body of the Goddess issued 
forth the most terrific Shakti of Chandika, exceedingly fierce 
and yelling like a hundred jackals together. She, the 
invincible, told Shiva, of smoke-hued matted locks, "Go, O 
lord, as an ambassador to the presence of Sumbha and 
Nisumbha. Tell the two arrogant asuras and the other asuras 
assembled there for battle-'Let Indra obtain the sovereignty of 
the three worlds and let the gods partake the oblations. You go 
to the nether world, if you wish to live. But if through pride of 
strength you are anxious for battle, then come by all means. 
Let my jackals be satisfied with your flesh'." Since that Devi 
appointed Shiva himself as her ambassador, thenceforth she 
became renowned in this world as 'Shiva-duti'. 

Hearing the words of the Devi communicated by Shiva, those 
great asuras, on their part, were filled with indignation and 
repaired to the place where Katyayani stood. Then in the very 
beginning, the enraged foes of the gods showered arrows, 
lances and double-edged swords on the Goddess. 



153 



The Goddess cut asunder playfully those arrows, spears, 
lances and battle-axes hurled by them, with powerful arrows 
shot from her full-drawn bow. Then, Kali stalked about, in 
front of Sumbha, tearing the foes to pieces with her spear and 
mashing them with her skull-topped staff. Whomsoever 
Brahmani attacked, she made those enemies bereft of valour 
and prowess by sprinkling on them the water from her water- 
pot. Maheshvari slew the daityas with her trident, Vaisnavi, 
with her discus and Kaumari, with her lance. Torn to pieces by 
Aindr's thunderbolt which come down upon them, the 
demons the offspring of diti and danu, fell on the earth in 
hundreds, streams of blood flowing. Pounded by blows from 
the snout of the boar-formed goddess Varahi, wounded in 
their chests by the point of her tusk and rent by her discus, the 
asuras fell down. Filling the sky and the quarters with her 
roars, Narasmihi, roamed about in the battle, devouring other 
great asuras torn by her claws. Dispirited by the violent 
laughter of Shivaduti, the asuras fell on the earth as she 
promptly devoured those who had fallen down. 

Seeing the enraged band of Mothers (Matru ganas) crushing 
the great asuras by various means, the troops of the enemies 
of gods took to their heels. Noticing the fleeing demons 
assailed by the Matru ganas, the great asura Raktabija strode 
forward to fight in wrath. No sooner a drop of blood from 
Raktabija's body fell on the ground than a great asura of his 
very stature would spring forth on the earth. With mace in 
hand the great asura fought with Indra's shakti . Then Aindri 
struck Ranktabija with her thunderbolt. As blood flowed 



profusely from Raktabija, who was wounded by the 
thunderbolt, there arose from his blood, combatants of his 
stature and might. 

As many drops of blood fell from his body, so many persons 
with his valour, strength and prowess came into being. And 
they who took birth from his blood, too fought with the 
Mother-goddesses more terribly, hurling formidable weapons. 
Again when Raktabija's head was wounded by the 
thunderbolt, his blood flowed, and from that blood were born 
thousands more. In the battle Vaisnavi struck him with her 
discus. Aindri hit the great asura with her mace. The world 
was pervaded by thousands of great asuras of his stature, born 
from the blood that flowed out of the cut inflicted by 
Vaisnavi's discus. Kaumari struck him with her spear and 
Varahi with her sword. Maheshvari assaulted him with her 
trident. And the enraged Raktabija struck the Mother- 
goddesses individually as well as severally with his club. 

Hundreds of asuras came into being from the stream of blood 
that fell on the ground as he received multiple wounds by the 
lances, spears and other weapons. The entire world was 
pervaded by the asuras who took birth from the blood of 
Raktabija. The gods were intensely alarmed at this. Seeing the 
devas dejected, Chandika laughed and said to Kali, "O 
Chamunda, keep your mouth wide open. And with this mouth 
quickly take in the drops of blood generated by the blow of my 
weapon and also the great asuras born of the drops of blood of 
Raktabija. Roam about in the battlefield, devouring the great 
asuras born from his blood. Thus this demon shall perish, 



154 



losing all his blood. As you go on devouring them, other tierce 
asuras will not be born". 

Having enjoined her thus, the Goddess then struck Raktabija 
with her spear. Thereupon Kali drank Raktabija's blood with 
her mouth. Rightaway Raktabija struck Chandika with his 
mace. The the blow did not cause her even the slightest pain. 
On the other hand, blood flowed profusely from the stricken 
parts of his body and from wherever it flowed Chamunda 
(Kali) swallowed it with her mouth. And Chamunda devoured 
the asuras born from the blood in her mouth, as she carried 
on with drinking his blood. The Goddess smote Raktabija with 
her spear, thunderbolt, arrows, swords, and double-edged 
swords, while Kali went on drinking his blood. Hit by a 
multitude of weapons that made him lose all his blood, the 
great asura Raktabija eventually fell on the ground. 
Thereupon the gods attained great joy. The Mother-goddesses 
who emerged from them danced drunk with the asura's blood. 

Chapter 9 

After Raktabija was slain and other asuras were killed in the 
fight, the asura Shumbha and Nishumbha gave way to 
unbounded wrath. Enraged on seeing his great army 
slaughtered, Nishumbha rushed forth with the chief forces of 
the asuras. In front of him, at his back and on his sides great 
asuras, biting their lips in ire advanced to slay the Goddess. 
Having fought with the Mother-goddesses, the great warrior 
Shumbha too arrived in fury, accompanied by his forces, to 
slay Chandika. 



Then commenced a severe combat between the Devi on one 
side and, Shumbha and Nishumbha on the other, from whom 
rained a most tempestuous shower of arrows on her like 
showers from two clouds. With a shower of arrows Chandika 
quickly split the arrows shot by the two asuras and hit the two 
lords of asuras on their limbs with a multitude of weapons. In 
the ensuing combat Nishumbha hit the lion of the Goddess on 
the head, upon which the Goddess destroyed his weapons one 
after another. Then the asura Nishumbha, bloated with anger, 
seized the spear and that also, as it came, the Goddess 
powdered with a blow of her fist. Then Goddess laid the 
advancing Nishumbha to the ground, striking him with a 
torrent of arrows. 

When the mighty Nishumbha was thus laid flat on the ground 
the exceedingly angry Shumbha set out to slay Ambika. 
Standing in his chariot and pervading the entire sky with his 
long and incomparable eight arms holding excellent weapons, 
he shone. Seeing him advancing, the Goddess blew her conch, 
and made an extremely unbearable twang of her bow-string. 
She filled all the quarters with the sound of her bell that rang 
the death-knell to the splendour of the entire armies of asuras. 
Then the lion filled the heaven, the earth and the ten quarters 
of the sky with loud roars, which made the elephants abandon 
their violent rut. 

Thereupon, Kali leapt up striking the sky and the earth with 
both her hands. All the previous sounds were drowned in that 
sound. Sivaduti burst into a thunderous and ominous 
laughter, terrifying the asuras and Sumbha flew into an 



155 



utmost rage. No sooner had the Mother said "Stand fast, O 
evil-natured one", the gods stationed in the sky cheered, 
"Victory to thee". 



The spear, flaming most terribly and shining like a mass of 
fire, hurled by the advancing Shumbha, as it was coming 
along, was put out by a great firebrand from the Goddess. The 
interspace between the three worlds was pervaded by 
Shumbha's war cry, but the dreadful thunder-clap of the 
Goddess smothered that too. In hundreds and thousands the 
Goddess and Shumbha split the arrows shot by each other. 
Then the enraged Chandika struck him with a spear. 
Wounded therewith, Shumbha fainted and fell to the ground. 
Then regaining consciousness, Nisumbha seized his bow and 
struck with arrows the Goddess, Kali and the lion. 

Putting forth ten thousand arms, the lord of the asuras 
covered Chandika with ten thousand discuses. Then the 
Goddess Durga, the destroyer of difficulties and afflictions, 
became angry and cut asunder those discuses and arrows with 
her own arrows. Thereupon Nisumbha, accompanied by the 
army of asuras, swiftly seizing his mace, rushed forward to kill 
Chandika. As he was rushing at her, Chandika broke his mace 
to pieces with her sharp-edged sword. Then he seized the 
spear and rushed forth. Quickly Chandika pierced him in the 
heart with a swiftly hurled spear. From Nishumbha's heart 
that was pierced issued forth another person of great strength 
and valour, exclaiming "Stop". As he emerged the Goddess 
severed his head with her sword, laughing loudly. Thereupon 
he fell to the ground. The lion then devoured those asuras 



whose necks he had crushed with his fierce teeth, while Kali 
and Sivaduti devoured others. The Mother-goddesses 
Kaumari, Brahmani, Maheshwari, Varahi, Vaishnavi and 
Aindri, put to naught many asuras, as Kali, Sivaduti and the 
lion devoured others , while some asuras fled from the battle. 

Chapter 10 

Seeing his brother Nishumbha, who was dear to him as his 
life, slain and his army being slaughtered, Shumbha spoke in 
fury, "O Durga, wicked and possessed by pride in your 
strength, do not be conceited. You fight dependant on the 
strength of others and yet think highly of yourself. The 
Goddess said, "In this universe, I alone exist. Who else is there 
besides me? Look, O wicked one, these manifestations of mine 
merge into my own self!" Then all those goddesses headed by 
Brahmani merged in the body of the Goddess. Then Mother 
Ambika alone remained there. The Goddess said "The many 
manifestations, which I manifested here by my own power, 
have been withdrawn by me, and now I stand alone. Be 
steadfast in combat". 

Then began a dreadful battle between them both, the Devi and 
Shumbha, while all the devas and asuras looked on. With 
showers of arrows, with sharp weapons and frightful missiles, 
both engaged again in a combat that frightened all the worlds. 
The asura king broke the hundreds of divine missiles that the 
Goddess launched, with neutralising weapons. The great 
Goddess too playfully destroyed all the celestial missiles shot 
by him. In the fierce combat that ensued, the Goddess 



156 



destroyed Shumbha's weapons one by one, then his horses, 
chariot, bow and mace, fighting gallantly. In spite of the last of 
his weapons being destroyed by the Goddess, the 
distinguished asura leaped at her swiftly, bringing his fist 
down on her heart. 

Then the Goddess hit him on the chest. Wounded by the blow 
of her palm, the king of asuras fell on the ground. Rising up 
again without delay, the king of asuras, leapt up towards the 
sky, seizing the Goddess. There too Chandika fought with him 
without any support. Then much to the wonder of the siddhas 
and the sages Shumbha and Chandika fought as never before, 
wrestling with each other in the sky. 

After wrestling with him for a while, the Mother Goddess 
Ambika lifted him up, whirled him around and flung him 
down to the earth. Thus thrown to the ground, the wicked 
asura rose swiftly on reaching the ground, and rushed forward 
raising his fist, intending to kill Chandika. Seeing the lord of 
all the asura-folks approaching, the Goddess chucked him 
down to the earth piercing him on the chest with a spear. 
Pierced by the pointed spear of the Goddess, he fell lifeless on 
the ground, shaking the entire earth with its oceans, islands 
and mountains. 

When that wicked one was slain, everything became clear and 
propitious, the universe regained its original state of perfect 
peace, and the sky became clear. Flaming portent-clouds that 
were in evidence earlier, vanished and the rivers kept within 
their courses after Shumbha's collapse. As he had been slain, 



the minds of all the hosts of gods were filled with joy and the 
celestial musicians (gandharvas) sang sweetly. Others played 
their musical instruments and the bevy of celestial nymphs 
(apsaras) danced. Likewise the winds blew favourably and the 
sun became resplendent. 

Chapter 11 

When the great lord of asuras was slain there by the Goddess, 
Indra and other gods headed by Agni, lauded Goddess 
Katyayani, illuminating the quarters with their moon-like 
faces, cheerfully as their wishes had been fulfilled. 

The Goddess said "O host of gods, I shall grant a boon. Choose 
whatever boon you desire in your mind. I shall grant it for the 
welfare of the world". 

The gods said "O Sovereign of all, in this very manner, you 
should accomplish the destruction of our foes and also the 
pacification of all the afflictions of three worlds". 

The Devi said "In the time of Vaivasvata Manu, when the 
twenty-eighth yuga has arrived two other great asuras, 
Sumbha and Nisumbha will be born. Then born from the 
womb of Yasoda, in the home of cowherd Nanda, taking 
abode in the Vindhya mountains, I shall destroy them both. 
Again, I shall incarnate on earth in a very terrible form and 
shall slay the descendants of asura Vipracitti. When I devour 
those fierce asuras, the descendants of Vipracitti, my teeth 
shall become red like the flower of pomegranate. Therefore, 



157 



when lauding me, the gods and the mortals shall always speak 
of me as Raktadantika, the red-toothed. 

And again when there is no water for a period of hundred 
years on account of failure of rains, propitiated by the sages, I 
will be self-manifest on the drought-ridden earth, but not 
womb begotten. Then I shall behold the sages with a hundred 
eyes and so mankind will glorify me as the 'hundred-eyed'. O 
gods, then till the rains set in, I shall maintain the whole 
world with life -sustaining vegetables born out of my own 
body. I shall then be famed on the earth as Sakambhari. At 
that very period I shall slay the great asura named Durgama. 
Thereby I shall have the celebrated name of Durgadevi. 

Again, assuming a terrible form on the mountain Himalaya, I 
shall destroy the demons for the protection of the sages. Then 
all the sages, shall praise me with their bodies bent in 
reverence. Then I shall have the celebrated name of 
Bhimadevi. When the asura named Aruna works great havoc 
in the three worlds, I shall take the form of a cluster of 
innumerable bees and shall slay the great asura for the good 
of the world. Then people shall laud me everywhere as 
Bhramari. Thus whenever trouble arises due to the advent of 
the danavas, I shall incarnate for the for the accomplishment 
of the destruction of the foes". 

Chapter 12 

The Devi said, "With a concentrated mind, whoever shall pray 
to me constantly with these hymns, I shall without doubt put 
an end to all his troubles. Whoever extols my deeds relating to 



the destruction of Madhu and Kaitabha, the killing of 
Mahishasura and likewise the slaughter of Shumbha and 
Nishumbha, whoever listens devotedly with a focused mind, 
to my glories sung in this Mahatmyam, on the eighth, the 
fourteenth and on the ninth days of the fortnight, to them 
nothing bad shall happen, nor calamities that arise from 
wrong doings nor poverty nor separation from beloved ones. 
Neither fear from enemies, robbers, kings, nor from weapons, 
fire and floods. Hence this, my Mahatmyam, must be chanted 
by those of concentrated minds and listened to constantly 
with devotion, for it is the supreme way to well-being". 

"This Mahatmyam will quell all sufferings due to epidemics, 
as also the three types of calamities- . I will never forsake and 
the place of my sanctuary where this poem is duly chanted 
every day, there I shall certainly be. When offerings are made, 
during worship, in fire-rituals and on great festivals, this 
Mahatmyam should be entirely chanted and heard. I shall 
fondly accept the sacrifice, the worship and the fire-ritual thus 
done, whether they are done with appropriate knowledge or 
not". 

"During the time of the Great worship in autumn^ as well as 
the beginning of the New Year s , those who hear this 
Mahatmyam of mine with devotion shall be surely delivered 
from all troubles and be blessed with riches, grains and 
children. Listening to this Mahatmyam, to the 

1 Adhyatmika, Adhibhautika and Adhi-daivika are the three 
types of Calamities 



158 



' A Sarad Navaratri Maha Pooja done for nine nights beginning 
from autumnal equinox' popular as the Devi Navaratris 
during Dushera 

2 The Hindu New Year is at the time of spring equinox when 
the vasanta navaratris are celebrated starting from New Year 
day (Ugadi) on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada and culminating on 
Sri Rama Navami auspicious manifestations of mine, and my 
feats of prowess in battles, one becomes fearless. Enemies 
perish, welfare accrues and families rejoice for those who 
listen to this Mahatmyam of mine. My Mahatmyam should be 
listened to everywhere, at a propitiatory ceremony, on seeing 
a bad dream, and for planetary afflictions. Thereby troubles 
subside, as also the terrible afflictions of planets. The bad 
dream turns into a good one". 

"It will result in the pacification of children under the grasp of 
bala grahas. It is the best promoter of friendship amongst 
men when there is a break in relationships. It destroys most 
effectively the strength all evil-doers. Verily demons, ghosts 
and ogres are destroyed by its mere chanting. This 
Mahatmyam of mine chanted in its entirety makes a devotee 
very close to me. By means of finest flowers, arghya and 
incenses, and by perfumes and lamps, by feeding Brahmanas, 
by oblations, by sprinkling consecrated water, and by various 
other offerings and gifts, if one worships day and night for a 
full year, the satisfaction that I get, the same is attained by 
reciting or listening but once to this Mahatmyam of mine". 



"Hearing the story destroys sins, and grants freedom from 
illness. The recital of my manifestations affords protection 
from evil spirits. If my exploits of exterminating the wicked 
demons in battles are heard, people will have no fear from 
enemies. Let the hymns recited by you, and those by the 
divine sages, and those by Brahma bestow an auspicious in 
thought. Lost in a desolate area in a forest, or surrounded by a 
forest fire, or encircled by robbers, or captured by enemies in 
a desolate spot, or pursued by a lion, tiger, or wild elephants 
in a forest, or sentenced to death by the orders of a wrathful 
king, or imprisoned, or caught in a boat tossed by winds on 
the high seas, or facing a volley of arrows in the most terrible 
battle, or amidst all kinds of dreadful troubles, or afflicted 
with pain, -remembering this story of mine, saves one from 
the predicament. By my power, animals like lions, robbers 
and enemies, flee from a distance from one who remembers 
this story of mine". 

The Sage (Medhas) said "Having thus spoken, the great 
Chandika, of fierce prowess, vanished on that very spot even 
as the gods were gazing at her. Their enemies having been 
destroyed, the gods, relieved of uncertainty in their minds, 
began to enjoy their shares in yagnas and weild their 
authorities as before. With Shumbha and Nishumbha of great 
prowess slain by the Goddess, the remaining demons were off 
to the netherworlds. Thus O King, the Goddess, although 
eternal, manifesting again and again, carries out the 
protection of the world. By her this universe is deluded, and it 
is she who gives birth to this universe. When entreated, she 



159 



bestows supreme knowledge, and when propitiated, she 
confers prosperity. This entire cosmos is pervaded by the 
great Goddess in the form of Mahakali and Mahamari. 

At one time She is Mahamari, the destroyer and at another 
time She, the unborn, becomes this creation. She herself, the 
eternal Being, sustains the beings at other times. In times of 
prosperity, She is verily Lakshmi, who bestows prosperity in 
the homes of men and in times of misfortune, she herself 
becomes the goddess of misfortune, and brings about ruin. 
When lauded and worshipped with flowers, perfumes and 
incense, she bestows wealth, offspring and an auspicious 
mind bent on Dharma. 

Chapter 13 

The Sage Medhas said "O King, this sublime glory of the 
Goddess has been narrated to you. Such is the glory of the 
Goddess by whom this world is upheld and sustained. 
Likewise She, Vishnu-Maya, the illusive power of Lord 
Vishnu, confers knowledge. By her, you, this merchant and 
others of discerning intellect are deluded. Others have been 
deluded in the past and many others will be deluded in the 
future. O great King, take refuge in her, the supreme Isvari. 
She indeed when worshipped bestows on men enjoyment, 
heaven and liberation from transmigration. 

Markandeya said to his disciple Bhaguri, "Hearing the sage 
Medhas' words, O great sage, King Suratha who had become 
despondent due to excessive attachment, the sense of 'mine', 
and the dispossession of his kingdom, prostrated before the 



illustrious Rishi of sever penances and immediately repaired 
to perform austerities. The merchant too went with the king. 
They repaired to the sandy banks of a river in order to obtain 
a vision of the Mother. The king and the merchant practised 
penances, chanting the supreme Devi-sukta. 

Having made an earthen image of the Goddess on the sands of 
the river, they both worshipped her in the image with flowers, 
incense, fire-rituals and ritual offerings of water. Abstaining 
from partaking food, with only one thought, their minds fixed 
on her, with concentration, they both offered sacrifices 
sprinkled with blood drawn from their own bodies. When 
they, propitiated her thus for three years, exercising self- 
control, Chandika, the upholder and sustainer of the world, 
became pleased, appeared before them and spoke to them. "O 
King, whatever you prayed for, and O delight of your family 
(referring to the merchant), whatever you too prayed for, 
receive all that from me. Well-pleased, I bestow those boons 
to you both". 

Then the King chose a kingdom that would be imperishable 
even in a future life, while in this life, he sought strength to 
destroy the strength of his enemies and thereby the 
restoration of his own kingdom. But the wise merchant, 
whose mind was full of dispassion for the world, chose the 
knowledge, which releases one from the attachment of 'mine' 
and 'I'. 

The Goddess said "O King, in a few days you shall obtain back 
your own kingdom after slaying your foes, and it will not be 

160 



lost thereafter. After your death, you will attain another birth 
through the Sun god, and shall be a Manu on earth by name 
Savarni. O the best amongst merchants, I grant you the boon, 
which you have desired of me. Supreme knowledge shall be 
yours, for your self-fulfilment. 

Markandeya said "Having thus granted both of them the boon 
that they desired, the Goddess vanished forthwith, as they 
were extolling her with devotion. Thus, Suratha, the best of 
warriors, having attained the boon from the Goddess, shall 
obtain another birth through Surya and shall be the eighth 
Manu named Savarni". 



Section 6 

The inner metaphorical 
significance of the Devi 
Mahatmyam 



Now let us examine the significance of the Devi Mahatmyam 
or Saptashati from the level of inner psychic reality. The Devi 
Mahatmyam begins with Markandeya narrating how a 
virtuous king named Suratha, dispossessed of his kingdom 
meets the merchant Samadhi who too has been dispossessed 
of his wealth and cast out by his own wife and children. 
Instead of finding tranquillity amid the peaceful and spiritual 
surroundings of the sage Medhas' hermitage, they are plagued 
by thoughts of loss, betrayal and attachment to the past. 
Together they approach the wise sage Medhas, whose task it is 
to awaken them to a higher spiritual awareness. The king, the 
merchant and the sage are archetypal characters that reside in 
all of us to differing degrees, characters with whom we can 
identify to varying degrees. 

The King, the Merchant and the Sage as allegories to the 
Body, Mind and Intellect Suratha is "one who has a good 
chariot" (su: good; ratha: chariot). The body is the chariot 



while the Self is the rider. "The Self is the rider, and the body 
the chariot; the intellect is the charioteer, and the mind the 
reins" (Katha Upanishad l. 3. 3). Man does the journey of life 
through the cycle of samsara with the chariot (ratha) of the 
body. In this long cycle of innumerable births called samsara 
chakra, man goes through countless lives. The cycle of 
samsara and its inevitable sufferings goes on as long as man 
does not realize that it is the Self (Atman) that is the rider and 
not the body or mind or pseudo-self. Unfortunately we 
continue to suffer till we realize this. According to the world- 
view of the Devi Mahatmyam , it is the Goddess who is the 
Supreme Self. Hence as the Supreme Self She is the rider. 
Born a warrior (kshatriya) Suratha is endowed with a strong 
physique, a good body. By virtue of his strength, he is capable 
of protecting himself as well as others. Initially he has all the 
material enjoyments that come naturally to a king. Yet he 
loses them later on in life as one would expect in an 
impermanent and temporal world. This loss coupled with his 
continued attachment is the cause of his suffering. Till then all 
along he had not realized that the Goddess, the Supreme Self 
is the rider. So in spite of everything he was not truly a 
"Su"ratha or one with a good chariot. 

Samadhi, on the other hand is a merchant (vaishya). The word 
'samadhi' indicates an integrated or concentrated or focussed 
mind, a mind that is absorbed in meditation ('sam': together 
or integrated; 'a': towards; and 'dha': to hold). In other words 
the word 'samadhi' denotes a focused or concentrated mind, a 
mind in meditation. As his name indicates, Samadhi, the 



162 



merchant is single-minded or one-pointed in his pursuits. 
Being a merchant initially his focus is on wealth. Because he 
has the natural ability to be focused, he attains his goal- 
material wealth. In the first half of their lives the king and the 
merchant pursue their goals-power and riches-respectively 
and they attain their goals. Both the king and the merchant 
are good by nature. The king protects his subjects like his own 
children while the noble merchant shares his prosperity with 
his whole family. But power and riches are not permanent in 
this ever-changing world. As is often the case both of them 
lose their hard-earned and well deserved power and riches. 
Cheated by people whom they trusted, they realise the 
limitations of worldly life. Apart from fate, their own relatives 
cheat them. In fact the merchant's wife and sons 
misappropriate his wealth and cast him out. In spite of their 
good characters and abilities they end up as losers. Having 
experienced deceit, cunningness and heartbreak, both the 
king and the merchant are deeply disappointed but not 
disillusioned. They still cling to those very things and the 
people that have abandoned them. Even then their hearts 
cling to their old associations. They are unable to detach their 
minds. 

The king and the merchant are archetypal characters. We are 
all a bit like the king and the merchant. We all share their 
predicament. At some point of time we all experience 
suffering, hurt and loss. At times our close friends, relatives, 
and family members fail us. In spite of our deep hurts we still 
cling on to our old ways and old associations. We fail to 



discern. We fail to learn from our past. Instead we simply 
brood over the past constantly reliving our miseries in the 
present. The king and the merchant find themselves in the 
hermitage of a great sage in whose hermitage even wild beasts 
have successfully tamed themselves of their ferocity. Yet the 
king and the merchant find it hard to awaken their abilities to 
discern or be dispassionate. Here again we share their plight. 
Most of us go to a temple or an ashram or a spiritual retreat or 
a great saint only to find that the mind is still under the 
conditioning of the past. We worry about our losses and hurts. 
It would be good if we could reflect rather than brood over our 
losses and hurts. This is our predicament. 

Returning back to the merchant Samadhi, though he had the 
natural inborn ability to engage his mind in meditation, in 
single minded pursuit, it did not bring him happiness. Instead 
the end result was unhappiness. Why? He concentrated on 
wealth alone. The object of his single-minded pursuit was only 
material wealth. You always get what you pursue with a 
focused mind, whatever you meditate on you attain that. The 
merchant focused on the riches of material existence. The 
external world is impermanent (anitya). Existential suffering 
is an inevitable consequence of existence. Permanent 
happiness cannot come from an impermanent, phenomenal, 
material world. Lasting happiness is possible only through the 
eternal (nitya) or the spiritual. The only unchanging principle 
in this ever changing world is the Supreme Self, the Divine 
Mother. She is the only object of meditation that can bring 
lasting happiness, both in the present and hereafter. Unless 



163 



the chariot (body), the reins (mind) and the intellect (buddhi), 
all serve the rider's (Self) purpose, the chariot is useless. 

Thus Suratha (a good chariot) and Samadhi (a concentrated 
or focused mind) cannot serve their true purpose, cannot find 
true happiness till they meet the sage Medhas (intellect or 
insight or knowledge), who can lead them to the Goddess, to 
the Supreme Self. 'Medhas' is another word for 'buddhi' or 
'intellect'. As per the Kathopanishad (1. 3. 3) buddhi or 
medhas is the charioteer. Now this is a perfect combination. 
An awakened intellect or awareness, a focussed mind capable 
of deep meditation, a strong and healthy body, together they 
can easily attain the best. Under the wise guidance of the sage 
Medhas, the king Suratha and the merchant Samadhi attain 
the best knowledge, knowledge of the Goddess, knowing 
whom they can the attain best. Medhas can now raise their 
awareness from an ordinary, worldly awareness to a higher, 
spiritual awareness of the Goddess, the Supreme Self. And 
this is what happens finally. Eventually at the end of the 
narrative, the king and the merchant are fully inspired to seek 
the Goddess. Reitiring to the bank of a river, they meditate 
and worship the Divine Mother devotedly. After three years 
she appears to them and offers each a boon. Suratha, who has 
unfinished business, asks for the return of his earthly 
kingdom, followed by an imperishable kingdom in the next 
life. The merchant Samadhi, on the other hand, has grown 
wise and dispassionate. He has become free from worldly 
attachment. His mind is now fixed only on Supreme 
knowledge, the Goddess. So he asks for the supreme 



knowledge that will dissolve the bondage of worldly existence. 
This is true Samadhi. All other forms of Samadhi are 
incomplete, save Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This is the true 
significance of the three main characters with whom the Devi 
Mahatmyam begins and ends. Now let us examine the actual 
myth of the Goddess and her martial exploits. 

As must be evident by now though the Devi mahatmyam is 
seemingly a narrative of the battle between the Devi and the 
asuras, there is a deeper significance to these demons and the 
battles. At one level it is also an allegory to the inner battle 
between the divine and the demoniac forces within the human 
psyche, between the positive and negative. The battlegrounds 
represent our own human consciousness, and its events 
symbolize our own experiences. The demons are symbolic of 
the psychic forces within the shadow. The Divine Mother is 
our own true being, our inherent divinity and wholeness, our 
very Self. Her clashes with the demons symbolize the outward 
and inward struggles we face daily. The Devi, personified 
simultaneously as the one supreme Goddess and also the 
many goddesses, confronts the demons of ahamkara or ego 
(our mistaken notion of who we are or what we identify 
ourselves with), of excessive tamas and rajas, that in turn give 
birth to other demons of excessive craving, greed, anger and 
pride, and of incessant citta vrttis. Thus the myth is an 
allegory to what is happening within our own consciousness, 
to the transformation of human consciousness. The threefold 
transformation of consciousness is described in the three 
sections or episodes of the Devi Mahatmyam. 



164 



First episode-The inner meaning of Madhu-Kaitabha myth 

The first episode reveals the power of tamas, the power of 
delusion, how in our ordinary state of being, we are all 
deluded. The first episode reveals the Primordial Mother Adi 
Sakti or Moola Prakrti in her dark, deluding aspect (Tamas) 
that ensnares humankind through the psychological 
afflictions of ignorance and attachment, through the influence 
of tamas and rajas. It teaches us about the nature of reality at 
the most basic primordial level. Maha Vishnu has to awaken 
from the state of primal sleep in order overcome the original 
demoniacal forces, Madhu (tamas) and Kaitabha (rajas). This 
is possible only through Maha Maya's grace, only if She frees 
Vishnu from the influence of Yoga Maya, the primordial 
inactive state predominated by cosmic Tamas. 

There are two ways to understand Madhu and Kaitabha. One 
is suggested by the Mahabharata's version of the same myth 
where it is stated that the asura Madhu is of tamas while 
Kaitabha is of rajas. The Harivamsha version too suggests a 
similar interpretation by having the two asuras themselves 
declare, "By us is all this covered over with tamas and rajas. 
Thus Madhu and Kaitabha are the two original demoniacal 
forces of tamas and rajas. They try to overcome the creative 
and sattvic force (Brahma). All the three gunas are born 
simultaneously before the very beginning of a Kalpa. In fact 
the word 'kalpa' is the same as in the other related word 
'sankalpa' that is suggestive of 'will' or 'resolve'. A Kalpa 
happens by the resolve or will of the Supreme Being. A Kalpa 
is one of the many continuous cycles of creative 



manifestation, sustenance and dissolution that happen by the 
sankalpa (will or resolve) of the Supreme Being, who in some 
creation myths is equated with Lord Vishnu. Madhu-Kaitabha 
emerge from the mala (dirt or waste) from Vishnu's ears. The 
ears are symbolic of sound or Sabda which is another name 
for Nada that marks the start of cosmogenesis. 

The three gunas are part of the same cosmic process of 
manifestation. Ever since creative manifestation starts the 
three gunas are in a state of disequilibrium, wherein they 
struggle towards ascendancy. The three gunas are part of the 
same veiling power of Prakrti or Maha Maya. Together they 
form the three strands that bind us to ignorance. However 
over a period of time Sattva is like a burnt rope because by its 
very nature it brings knowledge. That is why initially the 
ascendancy of Sattva is preferred over tamas and rajas. A 
burnt rope or a rope that will sooner or later be burnt cannot 
bind us for long. But till it is fully burnt even this rope can be 
binding. On the other hand the ascendancy of tamas and rajas 
are undesirable at all stages. As per classical Ayurvedic theory 
tamas and rajas are in fact manasika doshas that can act as 
psychological afflictions. They can potentially spoil (dosha: 
that which can darken or spoil) the psyche by leading to many 
other psychological afflictions. That is why the Supreme Being 
(Lord Vishnu) has to save sattva (Brahma) by subduing tamas 
(Madhu) and rajas (Kaitabha). But this is possible only 
through Maha Maya's grace, only if She frees Vishnu from the 
influence of Yoga Maya, the primordial inactive state 
predominated by cosmic Tamas. 



165 



The other approach to understanding Madhu and Kaitabha is 
etymological. Madhu denotes something sweet. Madhu is in 
fact the actual word for honey while Kaitabha denotes an 
insect. Thus Madhu and Kaitabha are honey and the honey 
bee. This world and its fruits are an extension of the Divine 
Mother's very own manifestation. In a way She is not separate 
from the world that is created by Her own Self. But if one 
hankers after the fruits of the world without being able to see 
Her behind this world or its fruits, sooner or later the 
inevitable result of this obsession with gathering honey is 
pain. Honey and the sting of the bee are inseparable. If you 
want honey you should dare the inevitable sting of the insect. 
We are all busily engaged in collecting one more drop of 
honey telling ourselves that this is the purpose of our lives. 
The more honey we collect the more the stings on our swollen 
faces. But we endure the pain of the sting preparing ourselves 
for the next drop of honey. 

It is our ignorance that keeps us busily engaged in this 
perpetual cycle of gathering more honey daring more stings. 
This simple insight can be the start of the loosening of the grip 
of the world over the Self. It is so simple yet immensely 
powerful, the power of Maha Maya. One needs discernment 
(viveka) and dispassion (vairagya) to see through this 
beautiful play of Maha Maya. And that happens only through 
Divine grace, or through great merit in many lives, or through 
the grace of a Sadguru. Suratha the king and Samadhi the 
merchant find a Sadguru in the sage Medhas who can lead 
them to this insight by revealing the glory of Maha Maya to 



them. Understanding the true nature of this world is 
important to be able to see the Supreme Being behind this 
manifest world. Otherwise the world can be a source of much 
misery and pain through its lure of honey and the inevitable 
pain of the sting. That is why the wise sage Medhas preferred 
to narrate the Madhu-Kaitabha myth to the king and the 
merchant when they seek his counsel since their predicament 
is surely related to the lure of the things of this world and the 
inevitable pain that they have experienced from it. 

Note: The esoteric interpretation is not an afterthought as 
some might think after seeing varying interpretations by 
enthusiastic writers. The esoteric interpretation is inherent to 
the myth as will be evident when one examines the myth 
through various approaches. In fact multiple approaches lead 
us to the same interpretation. Etymological examination of 
the words used, cross-scriptural references, oral teaching 
from the Guru, various commentaries and finally the inner 
experiences that a practitioner goes through, all these provide 
more authority to the esoteric interpretation. Interestingly all 
these approaches are in harmony and point to a nearly precise 
esoteric meaning of the Devi Mahatmyam. Some writers have 
interpreted the demons and other allegories arbitrarily. But as 
affirmed here the interpretation cannot be loose or arbitrary 
and has to harmonise all the five approaches delineated 
above. It is not enough if an allegory makes spiritual or 
psychological sense if it is not etymologically in line. Nirukta 
too must agree. This is the approach used consistently in this 
book. For instance let us examine the esoteric interpretation 



166 



of Madhu-Kaitabha. Honey is sweet. It is heavy. Any sweet in 
less quantity is sattvic, but in excess it is tamasic and thereby 
dangerous. Madhu is thus potentially tamasic. The insect 
(Kaitabha) is famous for its busyness. "Busy as a bee" is a 
common expression. Busyness is inherent to rajas. Thus 
Kaitabha is rajas. As one can see the etymological 
interpretation is in line with the cross-scriptural references 
from the Mahabharata that clearly equate Madhu and 
Kaitabha with tamas and rajas. Of course the psycho-spiritual 
interpretation too fits very well with the creation myth of 
Madhu-Kaitabha and Brahma. 



Dr. Satya Prakash Choudary